Brazil GDP returns to pre-pandemic levels, outstripping forecasts

Brazil GDP pre-pandemic levels
Crowded market in Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Deni Wiliams/Shutterstock

Brazil’s economy grew 1.2 percent during Q1 2021, according to official data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). As such, the GDP has now returned to Q4 2019 levels, before the coronavirus pandemic reached the country.

Markets predicted Q1 GDP growth to hit 0.7 percent, meaning that today’s announcement outstripped analysts’ forecasts.

The IBGE credits Brazil’s growth to a reduction in “restrictions which [last year] blocked the functioning of economic activities in the country.” Indeed, this lack of controls led to Brazil’s largest wave of Covid-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The 1.2-percent GDP growth came at the cost of 126,104 coronavirus deaths during the first three months of the year.

Industry and agribusiness were able to recover their 2020 losses, with growth of 0.7 and 5.7 percent, respectively. The services sector lags behind, with a 0.1-percent increase in Q1.