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The global financial crisis is not expected to lead to a major economic downturn in Brazil, a new study has concluded. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), prospects for the South American country remain favourable in comparison with many other countries.

Indeed, the OECD’s composite leading indicators showed that the nation had experienced a decline of just 2.9 points in the last year. This compares with 7.6 points in the euro area and 8.7 points in the United States. The figures were based on various measures of economic activity, such as output in the industrial sector.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian central bank has polled 100 economists in an attempt to determine the likely rate of growth in 2009, Bloomberg reports. Respondents to the survey predicted on average that the economy would expand by two per cent this year.

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Unlike in the rest of the world, sales in Brazil are going up, showing the economic resilience of South America’s largest economy. Sales in September raised 9.4 percent, particularly on IT and computers. Check below a report from The Miami Herald today.

Brazil’s retail sales rose more than economists forecast in September, a sign that consumer demand in Latin America’s biggest economy remained resilient as the global credit crisis began to deepen. Retail sales jumped 9.4 percent in September from a year ago, pushed by a 51 percent surge in computer sales, the national statistics agency said Tuesday.

The increase beat 20 of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists, whose median forecast was 8.8 percent. Sales growth was less than the 9.9 percent increase in August. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, seeking to build on consumer demand growth, is using state banks to boost lending to carmakers, home builders and consumers and meet an economic growth target of 3.7 percent next year. Economists such as WestLB’s Roberto Padovani in Sao Paulo said the September sales report is a sign that consumer sentiment was holding steady.

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The Seattle Times was yesterday full of praises for Brazil’s leading position as a major economy. Tyler Bridges talks about Saturday’s G-20 summit in Washington and how President Lula is trying to convince G7 countries leaders to give a bigger say to developing countries.  The idea is to create a permanent G14, including Brazil, Russia, China, Mexico and India. It goes on to justify Brazil’s larger ambitions:

With the world’s 10th-biggest economy, Brazil has surpassed the United States as the biggest producer of iron ore and coffee. It’s become the world’s biggest exporter of beef, poultry, biofuels and orange-juice concentrate, and is rapidly gaining in soybeans, corn and pork.

Brazil also has accumulated $200 billion in foreign reserves, almost as much as the rest of Latin America combined. That money will help cushion the global meltdown. Now, Brazil wants to be recognized for its fiscal track record and to avoid the risks that come with a global economic crisis.

“Brazil has new standing in the world,” said Rubens Barbosa, a private consultant in Brazil who’s served as the ambassador to the United States. “We think we can contribute more.” Quietly, Brazil already has become the most powerful country in Latin America.

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Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Council of the Americas, has produced a special report for the October issue of Poder Magazine called Brazil Rising. In it Farnsworth says that the next US administration should necessarily work with the South American nation on matters such as trade negotiations, energy security and even Iran’s nuclear program.

“Virtually all the economic news coming out of Brazil these days is positive, and Brazil’s global weight has dramatically increased as a result. The largest economy in South America and now the world’s 10th largest, Brazil’s emergence as a middle-income BRIC nation, with powerful growth rates driven by the global commodities boom, have repositioned Brazil as a global actor”, he said. Here is a recent clip he also produced talking about Brazil:

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