Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

President predicts 5-6 percent growth for Brazil's economy in coming years

President predicts 5-6 percent growth for Brazil's economy in coming years

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva predicted Friday that Brazil's economy will grow between 5 and 6 percent in coming years, as he campaigned for re-election ahead of a difficult Oct. 29 runoff.
Silva, in a tough race against a business-friendly opponent, told Nordeste Radio Network that Brazil's economic foundation is strong with inflation under control and declining interest rates.
The president has been on the defensive throughout his campaign because of high interest rates imposed by the administration to stem inflation that have stifled growth and business investment.
"There's no other Brazilian as concerned as I am about growth," Silva said in the interview during a campaign swing through Brazil's impoverished northeastern region.
Silva's didn't specify what years he was talking about for gross domestic product growth of 5 percent to 6 percent _ in line with current growth rates in major Latin American economies such as Mexico and Chile.
Analysts surveyed by Brazil's Central Bank predict 2007 GDP growth of 3.5 percent following economic expansion of 3.2 percent this year. GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced in Brazil and is considered the best barometer of Latin America's largest economy.
The opposition presidential candidate, former Sao Paulo state Gov. Geraldo Alckmin, has heavily criticized Silva for Brazilian growth lagging behind other Latin American economies. The center-right Alckmin also says the interest rate policy prevents businesses from expanding and hiring more workers in a nation of 187 million where unemployment stands at just under 11 percent.
Alckmin on Friday also attacked Silva for slow progress on a huge gas pipeline linking the Urucu oil and gas deposits in the Amazon jungle to fuel thermoelectric power plants in Manaus, a major industrial center along the Amazon River.
Saying the pipeline's environmental approval process and construction has proceeded at the "pace of a tortoise," Alckmin labeled the project a symbol of promised improvements to Brazilian infrastructure that Silva failed to deliver.
Silva was expected to win the presidential race last weekend in a landslide, but last-minute allegations of a dirty tricks electoral scheme against a political rival by his Workers Party prevented the president from winning the 50 percent plus one vote he needed for an outright win.
Silva, a leftist who has governed as a fiscal conservative, got 48.6 percent of the vote while Alckmin received 41.6 percent. Lesser-known candidates split the rest.
Now the race goes to a second round, with Alckmin's momentum rising amid predictions by analysts that he stands a decent chance of beating Silva.
Silva has denied being informed of plans by members of his Workers Party to try and pay for political dirt on his opponents. But on Friday, he called the ensuing scandal a "disaster" that helped force the second-round vote.
"We lost a few votes that we are going to win back now, in the second round," Lula said. "There won't be any time off. I'm going to work very hard."
Brazil's benchmark Selic interest rate stands at a towering 14.25 percent, which has helped reduced inflation to below 4 percent but is still among the highest lending rates in the world.
"The rates will fall gradually," Silva said.


Updated : 2021-04-20 03:47 GMT+08:00