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Brazil economy shrinks in March, but returns to positive for first quarter: central bank
May 15, 2017 / 2:43 PM / 2 months ago

Brazil economy shrinks in March, but returns to positive for first quarter: central bank

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FILE PHOTO: Hundreds of cars stand in the port of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 1, 2015.Ricardo Moraes

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The Brazilian economy grew 1.12 percent in the first quarter from the last three months of last year, the central bank said on Monday, suggesting the economy is slowly pulling out of a record two-year recession.

The bank's economic activity index is not the official gross domestic product indicator, but serves as a proxy and confirms economists' expectations for the first quarterly expansion since late 2014.

Despite the quarterly uptick the recovery remains uneven with the index showing activity fell 0.44 percent in March from February after seasonal adjustments. The median forecast of economists in a Reuters poll predicted a monthly drop of 0.95 percent.

Since 2015 Brazil has struggled with its worst recession on record, which led to the impeachment of leftist President Dilma Rousseff last year after a revolt of her alliance in Congress that accused her of doctoring the public accounts.

"Recent soft (sentiment indicators and PMIs) and hard data give us confidence that after an 11-quarter long recession the economy reached an inflexion point during the first quarter of 2017," Goldman Sachs' economist Alberto Ramos wrote in a note to clients.

Reporting by Alonso Soto and Bruno Federowski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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