Emerging Markets / September 24, 2018

Policy and Economic Development in Brazil

Brazil has been in the midst of political turmoil since the end of 2015, when then-President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and subsequently removed from office by the country’s legislative chambers. However, the political instability that has dominated Brazil since 2016 is expected to come to an end in a few weeks when the country celebrates its scheduled general elections on October 7.

Policy and Economic Development in Brazil

The Federative Republic of Brazil, located in South America, is the world’s fifth largest country in terms of territory. With a total of over 8.5 million square kilometers, Brazil is larger than Australia and slightly smaller than the United States. Geographically, the country is dominated by a diverse terrain that features the Amazon rainforest, rolling lowlands, some mountains, and 7.491 kilometers of coastline. Likewise, Brazil has a predominantly tropical climate, with more temperate weather along the southern parts of the country. Today, the country has a total population of approximately 207.4 million citizens, making it the fifth most populous country in the world. Furthermore, Brazil’s population is, on average, 32 years old and about 87% live in an urban setting, notably the city of Sao Paolo with some 22 million inhabitants.

Currently, the country’s national annual gross domestic product (GDP) is US$3.2 trillion (PPP), which makes it the eighth largest economy in the world. The Brazilian economy is divided into 6% agriculture, 21% manufacturing, and 73% services. Similarly, the national agriculture industry utilizes about 33% of the national territory, while another 62% is forested. In terms of natural resources, Brazil has bauxite, gold, iron, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, and timber. Within manufacturing, the national industry is focused on textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, mineral ore processing, tin, steel production, aircraft, motor vehicles, and machinery. Meanwhile, the country’s agricultural industry has as main products coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus, and beef.

In terms of trade, Brazil is the world’s twenty-fourth largest export economy. During 2016, the country imported US$140 billion worth of goods and exported US$191 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$50.7 billion. Furthermore, that same year, Brazil’s main export, representing 10% or US$19.4 billion of the country’s total, were soybeans. On the other hand, the country’s main import, representing 5.2% or US$7.3 billion of all international purchases, was refined petroleum. Meanwhile, Brazil’s main trading partners are China, the United States, Argentina, and the European Union.

Unfortunately, in Brazil, a few million people suffer from undernourishment. In recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin amongst the Brazilian population has been 51 grams daily. Simultaneously, land distribution and output in Brazil have evolved throughout the last half century. Back in 1961, permanent pastures and meadows in the country covered 122.1 million hectares, while arable land covered 22.1 million hectares and permanent crops covered 6.3 million hectares. More recently, by 2015, permanent pastures and meadows had increased to cover 196 million hectares, while arable land represented 80 million hectares and permanent crops accounted for 6.6 million hectares.

(Read more about Agribusiness, Trade & Economics in Germany)