BRASILIA May 2 Brazil's economy will post
growth of between 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent in the first
quarter, turning the corner on a two-year recession, Finance
Minister Henrique Meirelles said on Tuesday.
In an interview with GloboNews cable channel, Meirelles said
Brazilian companies will have to start to restock inventories
and draw up investment plans.
Latin America's largest economy shrank 0.9 percent in the
last three months of 2016, its eighth straight quarter of
retreat. Unemployment has hit a record 13.7 percent with more
than 14 million Brazilians looking for work.
Meirelles said the reform of Brazil's costly social security
system, the main cause of a gaping budget deficit, is crucial to
restore growth and create jobs despite its unpopularity.
The changes to the pension system, which will extend the
years Brazilians must work to retire on full benefits, are
opposed by 71 percent of those surveyed by pollster Datafolha.
The reform proposal by President Michel Temer is scheduled
to face a key vote in committee on Wednesday before it is put to
a floor vote in the lower house of Congress next week.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; editing by Diane Craft)