Brazil flag Brazil: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

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 seven 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 2021, GDP grew by an estimated 5.2%, mainly driven by a gradual re-opening of the economy and higher commodity 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 1.5% in 2022 and 2% in 2023.

In 2021, inflation rate reached an estimated 7.7%, surpassing the Central Bank's target of 5.25% - and salaries haven't followed. However, inflation is expected to decrease to 5.3% in 2022 and 3.5% in 2023. The relatively high inflation rate and tighter credit conditions weakened household consumption in 2021. The Brazilian government claim the worst for the economy is behind it, but show no sign it is willing to ease up on its commitment to austerity and strict fiscal discipline. Government debt is currently 90.6%, and is expected to remain stable over the next two years at 90.2% in 2022 and 91.7% in 2023. The country is still mired in debt, and the pension system is pointed out by President Bolsonaro as a key source of increasing public debt. As a result, the senate passed the bill to the much-debated pension reform - the effects of which are yet to be felt. The government budget balance registered a deficit of 5.9% in 2021, a rate which is expected to slightly increase in 2022 and 2023, reaching 7.1% and 6.2%, respectively. To mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government continued implementing a series of fiscal measures in 2021, which included the expansion of heath spending, temporary income support to low-income households, and lower taxes and import levies on essential medical supplies, adding up to 1.4% of GDP. For 2022, however, that rate is expected to drop to 0.5% of GDP. 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 grew in 2021, reaching an expected 13.8%, mainly due to a prolonged period of low growth 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 13.1% in 2022 and 12% in 2023, especially as the services sector recovers from the aftermath of the pandemic. 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 202020212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 1.001.00e1.002.002.00
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -3.94.6e2.81.01.9
GDP per Capita (USD) 6e7e8910
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -11.7-4.0-6.5-7.5-6.8
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 98.793.088.288.990.6
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 13.813.
Current Account (billions USD) -24.49-27.93-27.47-32.13-36.54
Current Account (in % of GDP) -1.7-1.7-1.5-1.6-1.7

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Brazilian Real (BRL) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 4.714.114.874.886.61

Source: World Bank, 2015


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Latest Update: January 2023

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