Brazil records 0.9% GDP growth in 2012, down from 2.7% in 2011, 7.5% in 2010, as industrial output falls 0.8%, agricultural production slips 2.3%

SAO PAULO , March 1, 2013 () – Brazil's gross domestic product grew just 0.9 percent in 2012, the government said Friday. It was the worst annual result since 2009, when the GDP contracted 0.3 percent.

The GDP grew 2.7 percent in 2011 and ballooned 7.5 percent in 2010.

Brazil's statistics bureau, known by its Portuguese acronym as the IBGE, said on its website that the country's service sector posted the best performance last year, growing 1.7 percent. Industrial output dropped 0.8 percent and agricultural production fell 2.3 percent.

The IBGE said the country's GDP totaled 4.4 trillion reals ($2.2 trillion) last year, while per capita GDP amounted to 22,400 reals ($11,200).

At the start of 2012, the government forecast annual GDP growth of 4.5 percent, but gradually lowered its expectations.

"Employment levels are excellent and more Brazilians are buying cars and their own homes," Finance Minister Guido Mantega said at a news conference. "Although the GDP was lower than expected, the international crisis did not knock on the doors of Brazilian families."

Mantega said that in the last quarter of 2012 GDP grew 0.6 percent and that January figures show that the economy is improving.

"The scenario for 2013 is more benign," he added.

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