Brazil Lags Behind Its BRICS Rivals

Brazilian industry is getting government help as it struggles to compete
Rousseff (fourth from right) visits a railway under construction Photograph by Celso Junior/DPA/ZUMA Press

Two numbers sent a jolt through the government of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in March. The first was the gross domestic product figure for 2011: Brazil GDP grew only 2.7 percent last year, vs. 7.5 percent in 2010. That sorry statistic made Brazil the laggard among the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The second number hurt, too: January industrial output contracted 3.4 percent from a year earlier. Rousseff’s strategy—to leverage Brazil’s strength to build up a world-class manufacturing power—is threatened.

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