(Adds Temer comments on successes, political context)
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA, March 17 The Brazilian economy has
begun to turn around, jobs are being created, and business
confidence is slowly recovering, President Michel Temer said on
Friday, touting initial successes of his recovery plan.
Speaking at a business meeting in Sao Paulo, Temer pointed
to the latest cover of The Economist showing Brazil beginning to
lift off among seven countries on the rise, and also Moody's
decision on Wednesday to raise the rating outlook for Brazilian
sovereign debt to stable from negative.
"This shows confidence is retuning bit by bit," he said.
Temer touted the "absolute success" of Thursday's auction of
rights to operate four airports, which drew nearly double the
minimum bids in a gauge of investors' appetite for a new wave of
privatizations his administration has launched.
To highlight a return to growth, Temer himself announced on
Thursday that the Brazilian economy had added 35,612 payroll
jobs in February, a statistic that is normally published by the
"Inflation is slowing and the forecast is it will be below
the target by the end of the year," he said, referring to the
central bank's 4.5 percent target.
Temer added that passage of proposed reforms of the
country's costly social security system and modernization of
outdated labor laws remained essential for the success of his
plan to bring the budget deficit under control and pull the
economy out of a "very violent" recession, its worst on record.
Temer, a business-friendly centrist, acknowledged that his
unpopular pension reform bill, which drew protests across Brazil
this week, will undergo changes in Congress, but he urged
lawmakers to adopt the basic proposal.
With the Car Wash corruption investigation reportedly
targeting six of his ministers and top allies in Congress,
political uncertainty clouds Temer's future.
As he highlighted the advances of Brazil's timid recovery at
Friday's event, the most dynamic sector of the economy and
driver of its exports came under investigation.
Police raided dozens of offices of meatpackers, including
industry giants JBS SA and BRF SA, to
investigate alleged bribery of inspectors to overlook unsanitary
practices such as processing of rotten meat.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Paul Simao)