Brazil's economy grows 2.9% in 2023

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil ended 2023 with an economic growth of 2.9%, official data showed on Friday, way above what economists expected for most of last year but maintaining in the fourth quarter a slowing trend that should cripple its expansion in 2024.

In a boost for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in his first year in office, gross domestic product (GDP) in Latin America’s No.1 economy defied gloomy forecasts that in early 2023 pointed to a mere 0.8% calendar-year growth amid stiflingly high interest rates.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, according to statistics agency IBGE, Brazil’s GDP was flat, in line with the previous quarter but slightly missing the 0.1% growth expected by economists polled by Reuters.

On an annual basis, growth in the October-December quarter came in at 2.1%, also below than the 2.2% rise economists had expected.

(Reporting by Peter Frontini and Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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