Rousseff Rebuffs Economist Magazine Call to Oust Finance Chief
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said she wouldn’t be influenced by The Economist magazine’s call for her to oust Finance Minister Guido Mantega after a growth report that fell short of government forecasts.
“Under no hypothesis will a Brazilian government elected by free and secret vote be influenced by the opinion of a magazine that isn’t Brazilian,” Rousseff told reporters in Brasilia. “We grew 0.6 percent last quarter and we’ll grow more in the next one.”
The London-based publication, in an article published yesterday, urged Rousseff to fire Mantega for misleading investors with growth forecasts that were double the expansion registered in a third quarter report last week.
“She should fire Mr. Mantega, whose over-optimistic forecasts have lost investors’ confidence, and appoint a new team capable of regaining the trust of business,” the magazine wrote.
“In no way will I take under consideration this, shall we say, suggestion,” Rousseff responded today. “I will not.”
Mantega was named Brazil’s finance minister in 2006 by Rousseff’s ally and predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. In 2010, he presided over the country’s fastest growth in two decades, when gross domestic product expanded 7.5 percent, and won attention abroad for accusing rich nations of starting a “currency war” fueled by record-low interest rates.
Since Rousseff took over in 2011, the economy has struggled, growing only 2.7 percent that year as Europe’s debt crisis and a slowdown in China hurt investment and exports. To revive growth, Mantega has focused government efforts on stimulating consumer spending through tax cuts and helping manufacturers by weakening the real. The central bank has also cut interest rates more than any other Group of 20 nation.
The stimulus so far hasn’t paid off. This year, the economy is forecast to expand 1.27 percent this year, less than the U.S. as well as major emerging market peers Russia, India and China.
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