Brazil Beams with Pride over 6th Place Economic Ranking

By Dialogo
December 29, 2011

Brazil beamed with pride on news that it has powered past Britain to become the world’s sixth biggest economy but officials say it will take another 20 years before the country can match the Europeans’ standard of living.

“From a psychological standpoint, this is a fantastic year-end victory,” Ricardo Teixeira, an administration professor at the prestigious Getulio Vargas foundation in Rio, told AFP.

Latin America’s booming economic powerhouse will close the year with a GDP of $2.5 trillion, behind fifth-place France with $2.8 trillion and ahead of Britain with $2.48 trillion.

But Brazil trails in per capita GDP with a mere $12,916, compared with $48,147 for the United States, $44,400 for France and $39,604 for Britain, according to International Monetary Fund data.

A simulation conducted by the Brazilian agency Austin Rating suggests that Brazil’s per capita GDP, under an optimistic growth scenario, would match Britain’s in 2028.

Experts stress that the country still has major challenges to overcome in the areas of education, health and extreme poverty, which still affects 16 million out of the country’s 190 million people.
“This announcement illustrates the greatness of Brazil and shows that the country is today a major economic power, this improved GDP is a consequence of all the measures implemented since the launch of the country’s Real economic stabilization plan” in 1994, said Alex Agostini, chief economist at Austin Rating.

Finance Minister Guido Mantega for his part said Brazil would need between 10 and 20 years to reach the Europeans’ standard of living.

“This means that we will have to continue growing faster than those (developed) countries, boost the employment and the revenue of the population. We have a big challenge ahead,” he added.

The Brazilian economy grew 7.5 percent in 2010, but the government has cut its growth projections to 3.5 percent for this year after the economy slowed in the third quarter.