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GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.025 trillion
GDP – per capita (PPP): $10,200
Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language); less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages.
1.979 million domain names registered
64.948 million users online
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Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America. It has a robust economy that has outgrown all the other countries in South America in terms of total Gross Domestic Product and GDP growth.
Having been a colony of Portugal from 1500 to 1889, Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese. Sugar was Brazil’s primary crop and export until the 17th Century, when demand for sugar started to decline. The colony was saved from economic collapse with the discovery of gold around 1693.
The Spaniards, who occupied most of South American territories, tried to prevent Portuguese expansion into their territories in accordance with the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, but these efforts were negated by the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1777. The treaty confirmed Portuguese control over Brazil and created most of the current borders for present-day Brazil.
Brazil has emerged from its tumultuous past to become the world’s 10th largest economy today and is forecast to become one of the five largest in the world in the near future. The country suffered a series of economic turmoil after the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 1998 Russian default. The International Monetary Fund needed to arrange a $30.4 billion rescue package to save the country from economic collapse in mid-2003, but this amount was quickly repaid by Brazil in less than three years.
With a GDP per capita of $10,200, Brazil is ranked 64th in the world primarily because of its vast natural resources, highly developed agriculture, rich mining reserves (bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, etc.) expanding manufacturing and service sectors, and a large labor pool.
On top of its agricultural products that include beef and soybeans, Brazil has other high value export products that include aircraft, electrical equipment, automobile, textiles, footwear, iron ore, and steel. It has established a strong presence in the international financial and commodities markets and belongs to a group of four emerging economies called BRIC, representing Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The four countries account for more than 25% of the world’s land area and a huge 40% of world population. According to Goldman Sachs, an international investment and securities firm, BRIC could surpass the economic output of the current richest countries of the world in 40 years and emerge as a major global power.
Brazil’s ascent to the global stage of economic power began in 2003 when investment analysts noticed a steady improvement in macroeconomic stability, rising foreign reserves, adherence to inflation targets, manageable debt profile founded on domestically held instruments, and strong commitment to fiscal responsibility.
Despite its relatively strong economic fundamentals and a record growth in 2007 and 2008, Brazil was not spared from the onslaught of the global financial crisis. It experienced two quarters of recession as export demands dwindled and external credit dried up. A number of foreign investors also pulled out of Brazil to cut down on losses.
But not for long. As early as the second quarter of 2009, GDP growth recovered as consumer and investor confidence bounced back to normal. Brazil was among the first countries from the emerging economies to recover from the economic downturn. In 2010, Brazil expects a return to economic normalcy, with its Central Bank forecasting a growth rate of 5%.