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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Brazil is the world's thirteenth largest economy. The country is still working on rebuilding itself after the recession that happened eight years ago, when the economy contracted by almost 7%. Since then, Brazil hasn’t been able to grow at the same pace it was used to during the decade before the recession hit. However, the Brazilian economy has been experiencing a slow but steady recovery in recent years. In 2022, GDP grew by an estimated 2.8%, mainly driven household consumption, private investment, and exports. South America's largest economy is expected to grow at a slower pace in the coming years, with the IMF predicting a GDP growth of 1% in 2023 and 1.9% in 2024.

In 2022, inflation rate reached an estimated 9.4%, surpassing the Central Bank's target of 3.5% and its tolerance band of 5% - and salaries haven't followed. However, inflation is expected to decrease to 4.7% in 2023 and 3.9% in 2024. The relatively high inflation rate and tighter credit conditions weakened household consumption in 2022. However, the Brazilian government claims the worst for the economy is already behind. In 2022, government debt decreased to 88.2%, and is expected to remain stable over the next two years at 88.9% in 2023 and 90.6% in 2024. The government budget balance registered a deficit of 6.5% in 2022, a rate which is expected to slightly increase to 7.5% in 2023, before decreasing to 6.8% in 2024. Although the pandemic has significantly impacted the Brazilian economy, the country has been recovering, following the implementation of the government measures to counteract the resulting economic crisis. Overall, Brazil's counter-cyclical packages in light of the pandemic have been effective in boosting economic activity, which has been gradually recovering.

The unemployment rate in Brazil decreased in 2022, reaching an expected 9.8%, as the country recovered from the impacts of the pandemic. However, the government believes that the real figures are significantly higher, as an official unemployment survey shows that around 32 million people are under-utilised - meaning that they are either not working or working less than they could. Additionally, even those who are employed, often have informal jobs. In fact, the government estimates that 39.3 million people, or 41.6% of the country's employed work force, have informal jobs. The IMF expects that the unemployment rate will slightly decrease to 9.5% in 2023 and remain stable in 2024, especially as the services sector continues to recover from the aftermath of the pandemic and household consumption increases as inflation reduces. Furthermore, the country continues to face social issues and has one of the highest levels of inequality in the world, with high disparities between the country's regions. Even though Brazil has lifted 28 million people out of poverty in the last 15 years, 10% of the population still live in poverty, while the country's richest 5% have the same income as the remaining 95% of the population.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 1,920.022,126.812,265.122,362.162,476.63
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 9,45510,41311,02911,44211,934
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -6.3-8.2-6.2-5.4-4.9
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 85.388.190.392.493.9
Inflation Rate (%) n/a4.
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -53.62-40.60-40.77-45.35-50.28
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.8-1.9-1.8-1.9-2.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by La Coface.



Main Sectors of Industry

Brazil has abundant natural resources and a relatively diversified economy. The country is the world's largest producer of coffee, sugar cane and oranges, and is one of the world’s largest producers of soya. With forests covering half of the country and the world’s largest rain forest, Brazil is the world’s fourth largest exporter of timber. Additionally, Brazil is home to the world’s largest commercial livestock heard. The country also attracts many multi-national groups in the food and bio-fuels industries. Still, even though agriculture represents 40.1% of exports, it contributes relatively little to the GDP (6.9%) and only employs 9.1% of the population. Moreover, in 2022, the country was hit by a drought that impacted the harvests of major crops, especially corn, soya, and sugar.

Brazil is also a large industrial power, and has benefited greatly from its mineral ore wealth. The country is the world’s second largest exporter of iron, and one of the world’s main producers of aluminium and coal. As an oil producer, Brazil is aiming to become energy independent in the near future, with reserves that could make it one of the top five oil producers in the world. Furthermore, the country is increasingly asserting itself in the textile, aeronautics, pharmaceutical, automobile, steel and chemical industry sectors. Many of the world’s large automobile manufacturers have set up production plants in Brazil. The industry sector contributes 18.9% to the GDP and employs 20% of the population. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the country's industrial sector has been recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, but production is still below pre-covid levels. While some industries, such as those of capital goods and durable goods, grew in 2022, the industrial sector as a whole was still impacted by tighter monetary policies and high interest rates.

The service sector represents 59.4% of Brazilian GDP and employs 70.9% of the active workforce. In recent years, the country has embarked on the production of high added-value services, especially in the fields of aeronautics and telecommunications. Tourism has also been on the rise in recent years, making it an important segment of the sector. Even though the services sector was hit the hardest during the pandemic, it showed a significant recovery in 2022, with growth reaching pre-pandemic levels. The sector's recovery was mainly driven by services to families, information and communication, and transport, as well as a gentle bounce of the tourism industry.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 9.7 20.6 69.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 6.8 20.7 58.9
Value Added (Annual % Change) -1.7 1.6 4.2

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Brazilian Real (BRL) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 3.493.193.653.905.16

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

Although foreign trade only represented 39.2% of its GDP in 2021 (World Bank), Brazil is among the world's 30 largest exporters and importers and the country has an enormous economic potential. Brazil mainly exports iron ores (15.9%), soya beans (13.8%), petroleum oils (10.9%), cane or beet sugar (3.3%), and oil cake (2.6%); while its main imports are petroleum oils (5.9%), parts and accessories for tractors and motor vehicles (3.3%), human and animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses (3%), petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons (2.7%), and mineral or chemical fertilisers (2.5%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by 2.2% in 2022 and is expected to increase by 4.4% in 2023, while the volume of imports of goods and services decreased by 6.8% in 2022 and is expected to decrease to 1.8% in 2023.

The country's main trade partners are China, the United States, Argentina, Germany, the Netherlands, Chile, and India. Despite being the largest economy in Latin America and the ninth in the world, Brazil is still relatively closed compared to other large economies, with a low trade penetration and a low number of exporters relative to the population (its absolute number of exporters is roughly the same as that of Norway, a country with approximately 5 million people, compared to Brazil’s 213 million). However, the country has been implementing changes to improve trade, such as reducing the time for documentary compliance for both exporting and importing by enhancing its electronic data interchange system. Additionally, given that the EU is Brazil's second-biggest trading partner, they are working on a free trade agreement - as a part of the EU's Association Agreement negotiations with the Mercosur countries. Not only that, but the bloc has also been looking into signing a bilateral agreement with China in a plan to modernise and open it to other regions. Furthermore, since the inauguration of the newly-elected Brazilian president, Lula, in January 2023, Brazil and Argentina have been working to foster stronger trade ties and introducing a common currency.

Brazil’s trade balance is structurally positive, but has declined in recent years due to a drop in the prices of raw materials, an increase in energy imports and a decline in the competitiveness of Brazilian products. According to the latest available data from WTO, in 2021, Brazil imported USD 234 billion and exported USD 280 billion in goods, while in services the country imported USD 50 billion and exported USD 33 billion. As a result, trade balance of goods and services amounted to USD 19,2 billion. As the world’s agricultural super power, Brazil conducts a very particular foreign trade policy, aiming at conquering markets while preserving at all cost its influential position.

Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 192,840193,162166,336234,690292,245
Exports of Goods (million USD) 231,890221,127209,180280,815334,136
Imports of Services (million USD) 73,37271,51452,17158,43979,473
Exports of Services (million USD) 34,04433,03327,51431,48239,455

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 28.928.932.338.239.3
Trade Balance (million USD) 43,37326,54732,37036,36344,153
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 4,045-11,9347,7139,4064,536
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 7.71.3-9.512.00.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.1-2.6-
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 14.214.815.818.619.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 14.614.116.519.620.0

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -2.8-

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Brazil is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Mercosur, ICC, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, Latin American Integration Association (LAIA), WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Brazil click here. International organisation membership of Brazil is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Brazil can be consulted here.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
China 26.8%
United States 11.4%
Argentina 4.6%
Netherlands 3.6%
Spain 2.9%
See More Countries 50.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 23.2%
United States 18.6%
Argentina 4.7%
Germany 4.6%
India 3.3%
See More Countries 45.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Luiz Inácio LULA da Silva (since 1 January 2023) - the president is both Chief of State and Head of Government
Vice President: Geraldo ALCKMIN (since January 1, 2023)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: October 2026
Federal Senate (for one-third of Senate seats) and Chamber of Deputies: October 2026
Current Political Context
In October 2022, Brazilian voters went to the polls to choose between two polarising candidates in the country's presidential elections. The president at the time, Jair Bolsonaro, was running for reelection against former-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, one of the most popular leaders in Brazilian history. The far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, had been facing a significant decrease in popularity and shrinking approval ratings, mainly due to his government's management of the pandemic and controversial decisions made throughout his mandate, such as cutting funding for federal education and relaxing gun ownership laws. His opponent in the polls, Lula, had served two terms as president between 2003 and 2010, and was later imprisoned on corruption charges, although his conviction was subsequently annulled. The left-wing leader, with its roots in the labour union movement, continues to be a divisive figure in Brazilian politics, as his image is associated with both the economic boom that lifted tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty during his mandates and the corruption charges he faced afterwards. Still, his campaign quickly gained momentum and Lula won the polls in October 2022, with 50.90% of the votes (against Bolsonaro's 49.10%). After Bolsonaro’s narrow electoral defeat, however, many of his supporters demanded a military coup and the abolishment of democracy in the country, a frequent component of many right-wing demonstrations in Brazil. In the first week of 2023, one week after Lula had been sworn in as president, about four thousand people stormed the country's capital, Brasília, and occupied and damaged government and judiciary buildings, including Congress, the Presidential Palace, and the Supreme Federal Court. Nevertheless, the authorities quickly controlled the situation and several arrests were made.
Main Political Parties
About two dozen political parties are represented in the Brazilian National Congress. Parties typically group together to form coalition governments. However, politicians often change parties, which has led to weak party discipline.

The main parties by number of seats in Congress are:

- Social Liberal Party (PSL): far-right, conservative, nationalist, militarist, liberal, anti-communism, anti-feminism, anti-LGBTQI+, populist.
- The Worker's Party (PT): centre-left, social democratic. Party with the highest number of elected representatives throughout the country since 2003.
- The Liberal Party (PL): formerly known as the Party of the Republic (PR). Centre-right to right, liberal, conservative, Christian democracy.
- The Progressive Party (PP): right-wing, nationalist, conservative.
- Social Democratic Party (PSD): big-tent party, centrist, liberal, Christian democracy.
- The Democratic Movement Party (MDB): big-tent party, centrist, liberal, conservative.
- The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB): centre, social-democratic, liberal, conservative.
- The Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB): centre-left to left-wing, social-democratic, economic nationalism, state interventionism.
- Republicans: right-wing, conservative, Christian democracy.
- The Democrats (DEM): centre-right to right-wing, conservative, liberal, Christian democracy.
- Democratic Labour Party (PDT): centre-left, social-democratic, labourism.
- Solidarity (SDD): left-wing, social-democratic, labourism.
- Social Christian Party (PSC): right-wing to far-right, conservative, Christian democracy.
- Podemos (PODE): centre-right to right, nationalist, populist.
- Republican Party of the Social Order (PROS): centre-left, liberal, social-democratic, Christian democracy.
- Brazilian Labour Party (PTB): right-wing to far-right, social conservatism, Brazilian nationalism, right-wing populism.
- Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL): left-wing to far-left, social-democratic, anti-capitalist, environmentalist.
- Forward (Avante): centre, Third Way, populism.
- New Party (NOVO): centre-right to right-wing, liberalism.
- Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB): left-wing, Communism, Marxism–Leninism.
- Citizenship (Cidadania): centre to centre-left, social liberalism, Third Way.
- Patriot (Patriota): right-wing to far-right, social conservatism, economic liberalism, militarism.
- Green Party (PV): centre to centre-left, social-democratic, environmentalist, green politics.
- Sustainability Network (REDE): centre to centre-left, green politics, progressivism, environmentalism.

Executive Power
The President is both Head of State and Government. He or she holds executive power and appoints the Council of Ministers. The President and Vice-president are elected by universal suffrage for a four year term, with the possibility of re-election for a second successive term.
Legislative Power
The legislative power is bicameral. The National Congress is made up of two houses: the Senate (upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies (lower house). The Senate is comprised of 81 members (three members for each of the 26 states and the Federal District of Brasília), each elected on a majority basis for eight-year terms, with one-third and two-thirds of the membership elected alternatively every four years. The Chamber of Deputies is comprised of 513 members, with seats allocated according to proportional representation, elected every four years for a four-year term. There are also legislatures and administrations at the state level in each of Brazil’s 26 states and in the Federal District.


COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
The information on the economic recovery scheme put in place by the Brazilian government to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the website of KPMG.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the Brazilian government, please consult the section dedicated to Brazil in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.