* Brazil cuts 2012 GDP view to 3 pct from 4.5 pct
* Gov't sees real averaging 1.95 per dlr this year
BRASILIA, July 20 Brazil's government on Friday
sharply lowered its economic growth forecast for this year to 3
percent from a previous 4.5 percent, underscoring the magnitude
of the slowdown in Latin America's top economy.
The government also lowered its target for primary revenues
this year and predicted that the local currency, the real
, will average 1.95 per dollar this year.
Economic activity has slowed dramatically due the fallout of
the European debt crisis and previous government efforts to
prevent the economy from overheating.
The central bank last month revised its own economic growth
forecast to 2.5 percent for 2012, from 3.5 percent previously.
Private economists are more pessimistic, with most
predicting growth below 2 percent for the year and a few
forecasting growth closer to 1.5 percent -- far below last
year's 2.7 percent expansion and the red-hot 7.5 percent growth
The Brazilian real has depreciated about 16.5 percent since
hitting a 2012 high of 1.69 per dollar in late February. On
Friday it was trading at 2.02 per dollar.
Policymakers are scrambling to lift Brazil out of the
Under the leadership of Alexandre Tombini, the central bank
has slashed the benchmark Selic rate by a total of 450 basis
points since last August in a bid to stoke consumer spending.
President Dilma Rousseff's administration has also taken
action to revive an industrial sector that is suffering one of
its worst crises in decades with a barrage of tax breaks and
billions of reais in cheap credit.