* Economists cut GDP growth view for 7th week
* Consumer confidence down in June, off highs
* 2012 inflation forecast eases below 5 pct
By Silvio Cascione
SAO PAULO, June 25 Brazilian consumer confidence
waned in June and analysts chopped their forecasts for the
country's economic growth, as indebted households and risk-wary
investors kept a cautious stance despite successive government
measures to revive growth.
The FGV consumer confidence index slumped 2.8
percent in June from May, its second straight monthly decline,
with households expectations worsening for the economy over the
next six months.
Economists cut forecasts for 2012 growth for the seventh
straight week in a central bank survey, adding evidence of
growing pessimism about once-booming emerging countries.
Economists now see 2.18 percent growth, which would be
Brazil's weakest annual economic growth since 2009.
Their forecasts for the expected rebound in 2013 were also
cut to 4.20 percent from 4.25 percent seen in the previous week.
FGV's consumer confidence index remained above its
historical average as the current economic slowdown have not yet
erased record-low unemployment. However, the second
decline in a row took it off April's record high.
"Brazil avoided a sharper slump in the 2008's crisis
because of its domestic demand. But now we see demand cooling
off. The government may have to push harder to boost it," said
Felipe Queiroz, an economist at Austin Ratings, in Sao Paulo.
The world's No.6 economy grew a slower-than-expected 0.2
percent in the first quarter of this year from 2011's fourth
quarter as businesses, faced with a decline in
global demand and higher labor costs, cut back on expansion and
Other large emerging countries are struggling to cope with
feeble global demand and heightened uncertainty over the
European debt crisis. India is slowing sharply, China cut
interest rates to avoid a hard landing, and Russia is being hit
by a sharp decline in oil prices.
As it tries to boost growth, Brazil's central bank cut
interest rates to an all-time low of 8.5 percent in May and is
expected to slash rates to 7.5 percent by year-end as inflation
expectations ease, the central bank survey showed.
The outlook for Brazil's benchmark IPCA inflation rate in
2012 eased to 4.95 percent from 5.00 percent a week earlier. In
2013, analysts foresee prices rising 5.50 percent, compared with
last week's 5.54 percent prediction.
The survey represents the median forecasts of analysts at
about 100 financial institutions.
Besides the rate cuts, President Dilma Rousseff's
administration has responded to the economic slowdown by
launching more than a half-dozen stimulus packages.
Last month, Brazil's government unveiled a round of tax cuts
aimed at boosting the country's weakening automotive sector, and
in June it reduced the scope of a financial tax on foreign loans
for domestic companies to ease funding conditions.
The central bank targets inflation of 4.5 percent annually,
with a tolerance range of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Consumer prices were seen rising 0.18 percent in June.