Brazil’s gross domestic product expanded by 1.0% in 2017, ending an unnerving two-year recession, the Brazilian Census Bureau (IBGE) said Thursday. GDP shrank by 3.5% in 2016. The recovery was led by agriculture, which expanded by a stunning 13%, based on a record grain and oilseeds crop. It was the best performance for agriculture since 1996. Services rose 0.3% while industry was flat. Economists expect the recovery to gain momentum this year. Although agriculture will probably climb down from its 2017 heights, there are already signs that industrial production and services will expand significantly this year. Economists are predicting GDP growth in 2018 of 2.5% to 3.0%. Inflation is tame at less than 2.0%, which has allowed the Central Bank to ratchet down interest rates. Consumer debt has declined, and job creation is picking up. Overall Brazilian GDP ended 2017 at R$6.6 trillion, the IBGE said.
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