Brazil Industry Output Unexpectedly Rises in January

Brazil’s industrial output unexpectedly rose in January as business confidence showed signs of rebounding in the beginning of the year.

Production expanded 0.4 percent in January after a revised 0.5 percent decline the prior month, the national statistics agency said Friday. That was better than all but one estimate by 37 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, whose median forecast was for output to contract 0.4 percent. From a year earlier, industrial production fell 13.8 percent, and hasn’t recorded year-on-year growth since the first half of 2014.

Brazil’s economy in 2015 posted its worst recession in a quarter-century, dragged down by declines in industry output and investment. Efforts by President Dilma Rousseff’s government to reverse the downturn have been hampered by a slew of corruption allegations leveled against those in her inner circle. Industrial confidence has rebounded to its highest level since August but remains near historic lows.

Output of capital goods in January, a barometer of investment, rose 1.3 percent from the previous month, the statistics institute said. Production of intermediate goods rose 0.8 percent.

Brazil’s economy shed more than 1.5 million formal jobs last year, of which more than a million were in the manufacturing and civil construction sectors. Rousseff has faced mounting pressure to stem the impact of the downturn, and Finance Minister Nelson Barbosa announced 83 billion reais ($22 billion) in extra lending by state-run banks.

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