The city on the beach in Brazil

Brazil Economy

Brazil economic overview

Latin America's key economy:

Brazil is the largest and most populous economy in Latin America, with GDP worth around a third of the regional total. Brazil is also the third-largest emerging market after China and India. Brazil has a diverse economic structure encompassing agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and services.

Commodity superpower:

Brazil is a global leader in agriculture, renowned for being one of the world's largest producers of coffee, soybeans, beef, sugar cane and ethanol. The sector benefits from advanced agricultural technology and vast arable land. Brazil is also an important producer of iron ore and oil, and holds large reserves of minerals that will be key in the green transition, such as graphite, nickel, manganese and rare earth elements.

Trade policy:

Brazil's is the leading member of the Mercosur trade pact, along with fellow members Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. That said, trade policy is protectionist: Average tariff rates are more than double the Latin American average. Moreover, Mercosur's proposed trade deal with the EU has been on hold for years over environmental concerns.

Disappointing economic performance:

Brazil saw sustained economic growth in the early- to mid-2000s in line with the commodities super cycle but has languished since the global financial crisis, with GDP expanding a mere 0.6% on average in the decade to 2022.

Challenges:

A bloated, inefficient public sector, the highly fragmented Congress, elevated public debt and unemployment, crime and rampant inequality are particular challenges. Moreover, the country's industry is relatively uncompetitive internationally: Manufacturing as a share of GDP has tumbled from over 30% in the late 1980s to around 10% today.

Brazil's economic outlook:

Following the divisive presidency of right-wing Bolsonaro, former President Lula was re-elected in late 2022. His government is likely to tread a fine line between increasing social support while maintaining a prudent fiscal stance. Our panelists are not overly optimistic on the outlook for the economy in the coming years and see GDP growth below the regional average, as current economic problems are likely to persist over our forecast horizon. Brazil is set to remain firmly stuck in the middle-income trap—along with much of the rest of the continent.

Brazil's economy in numbers:

Nominal GDP of USD 1,952 billion in 2022.

GDP per capita of USD 9,615 compared to the global average of USD 10,589.

Average real GDP growth of 0.7% over the last decade.

Share of the region's population
Share of the region's GDP

Economic structure:

In 2021, services accounted for 74% of overall GDP, manufacturing 10%, other industrial activity 9%, and agriculture 7%. Looking at GDP by expenditure, private consumption accounted for 61% of GDP in 2021, government consumption 19%, fixed investment 19%, and net exports 1%.

GDP by economic sector
GDP by type of expenditure

International trade:

In 2021, manufactured products made up 25% of total merchandise exports, mineral fuels 14%, food 35%, ores and metals 20% and agricultural raw materials 5%, with other categories accounting for 1% of the total. In the same period, manufactured products made up 76% of total merchandise imports, mineral fuels 14%, food 5%, ores and metals 4% and agricultural raw materials 1%, with other goods accounting for 0% of the total. Total exports were worth USD 340 billion in 2023, while total imports were USD 241 billion.

Key exports
Key imports
Key export partners
Key import partners

Economic growth:

The economy recorded average annual growth of 0.7% in the decade to 2022. To read more about GDP growth in Brazil, go to our dedicated page.

Fiscal policy:

Brazil's fiscal deficit averaged 6.7% of GDP in the decade to 2022. Find out more on our dedicated page.

Unemployment:

The unemployment rate averaged 10.5% in the decade to 2022. For more information on Brazil's unemployment click here.

Inflation:

Inflation averaged 6.1% in the decade to 2022. Go to our Brazil inflation page for extra insight.

Monetary Policy:

Brazil's monetary policy rate ended 2022 at 13.75%, up from 7.25% a decade earlier. See our Brazil monetary policy page for additional details.

Exchange Rate:

From end-2012 to end-2022 the real weakened by 62.3% vs the U.S. dollar. For more info on the real, click here.
GDP grew 0.8% quarter on quarter in Q1, the strongest expansion since Q2 2023, reflecting stronger readings for private consumption, fixed investment and exports. In Q2, our Consensus is that GDP growth roughly halved in sequential terms. This is partly as Q1’s reading was artificially boosted by court-ordered debt payments, but also because floods in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul will have harmed momentum. Available data for Q2 is downbeat: In April, economic activity stalled, industrial production fell and retail sales undershot market expectations. In addition, industrial output clocked a further sharp decline in May. In late-June, the government changed the Central Bank’s inflation targeting system to an indefinite 3% target, from the current system of updating the target each year; this bodes well for the anchoring of inflation expectations.
Projections out to 2033.

53 indicators covered including both annual and quarterly frequencies.

Consensus Forecasts based on a panel of 55 expert analysts.

Want to get insight on the economic outlook for Brazil in the coming years? FocusEconomics collects projections out to 2033 on 53 economic indicators for Brazil from a panel of 55 analysts at the leading national, regional and global forecast institutions. These projections are then validated by our in-house team of economists and data analysts, and averaged to provide one Consensus Forecast you can rely on for each indicator. This means you avoid the risk of relying on out of date, biased or outlier forecasts. Our Consensus Forecasts can be visualized in whichever way best suits your needs, including via interactive online dashboards , direct data delivery and executive-style reports which combine analysts' projections with timely written analysis from our in-house team of economists on the latest developments in the Brazil economy. To download a sample report on the Brazil's economy, click here. To get in touch with our team for more information, fill in the form at the bottom of this page .

Brazil Economic Data

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Population (million) 200 201 202 203 204
GDP (USD bn) 1,873 1,477 1,670 1,952 2,173
GDP per capita (USD) 9,363 7,347 8,266 9,615 10,640
GDP (BRL bn) 7,389 7,610 9,012 10,080 10,856
Economic Growth (Nominal GDP, ann. var. %) 5.5 3.0 18.4 11.8 7.7
Economic Growth (GDP, ann. var. %) 1.2 -3.3 4.8 3.0 2.9
Domestic Demand (ann. var. %) 1.8 -4.3 6.0 2.4 1.5
Private Consumption (ann. var. %) 2.6 -4.6 3.0 4.1 3.1
Government Consumption (ann. var. %) -0.5 -3.7 4.2 2.1 1.7
Fixed Investment (ann. var. %) 4.0 -1.7 12.9 1.1 -3.0
Exports (G&S, ann. var. %) -2.6 -2.3 4.4 5.7 9.1
Imports (G&S, ann. var. %) 1.3 -9.5 13.8 1.0 -1.2
Industrial Production (ann. var. %) -1.1 -4.6 4.2 -0.7 0.3
Retail Sales (ann. var. %) 1.8 1.2 1.4 1.0 1.7
Unemployment (% of active population, aop) 12.1 13.5 13.5 9.5 8.0
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP) -5.8 -13.3 -4.3 -4.6 -8.9
Public Debt (% of GDP) 74.4 86.9 77.3 71.7 74.4
Inflation (CPI, ann. var. %, eop) 4.3 4.5 10.1 5.8 4.6
Inflation (CPI, ann. var. %, aop) 3.7 3.2 8.3 9.3 4.6
SELIC Rate (%, eop) 4.50 2.00 9.25 13.75 11.75
10-Year Bond Yield (%, eop) 6.78 6.90 10.83 12.66 10.36
Exchange Rate (BRL per USD, eop) 4.02 5.19 5.57 5.28 4.86
Exchange Rate (BRL per USD, aop) 3.95 5.15 5.40 5.16 5.00
Current Account Balance (USD bn) -68.0 -28.2 -46.4 -48.3 -30.8
Current Account Balance (% of GDP) -3.6 -1.9 -2.8 -2.5 -1.4
Merchandise Trade Balance (USD bn) 35.2 50.4 61.4 61.5 98.9
Merchandise Exports (USD bn) 221 209 281 334 340
Merchandise Imports (USD bn) 186 159 219 273 241
Merchandise Exports (ann. var. %) -4.6 -5.4 34.2 19.0 1.7
Merchandise Imports (ann. var. %) 0.3 -14.6 38.2 24.2 -11.7
Foreign Direct Investment (USD bn) 69.2 38.3 46.4 74.6 64.2
International Reserves (USD bn) 357 356 362 325 355
International Reserves (months of imports) 23.0 26.9 19.8 14.3 17.7
External Debt (USD bn) 323 311 325 320 342
External Debt (% of GDP) 17.2 21.0 19.5 16.4 15.7

Q&A:

  1. What is the main economic sector in Brazil?

  2. The services sector is the main economic sector in Brazil, accounting for more than half of GDP. It includes activities such as retail, tourism, financial services, and healthcare. However, the agricultural and mining sectors are key to exports.

  3. Is Brazil doing well economically?

  4. Brazil's economy has recovered steam post-COVID-19, fuelled by exports and household consumption. However, it faces a large public debt and policy uncertainty, and GDP growth is forecast to be below the Latin American average in the coming years.

  5. What is Brazil's biggest export?

  6. Brazil's biggest export is iron ore; Brazil is the world's second-largest producer of iron ore after Australia. Iron ore is a key ingredient in steel production. Brazil's iron ore is some of the highest quality in the world, and it is in high demand by steelmakers around the world. Other major exports from Brazil include soybeans, crude petroleum, raw sugar, and poultry meat.

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