Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, Mercosul and the Union of South American Nations, and is one of the BRIC Countries. Brazil is also home to a diversity of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats.
Industry and technology are shining stars of Brazil’s economy. The nation’s industrial sector accounts for one-third of GDP, and includes steel, petrochemicals, computers, aircraft, and consumer durables. Its technological sector encompasses submarines, aircraft, and space research, including involvement in construction of the International Space Station. It is also a leader in ethanol production and research into deep-water oil, the source of 73% of its reserves. And Brazil’s automotive industry is enjoying a boom period, as access to credit, economic stability, and lowered interest rates have increased consumer confidence and boosted car sales in Brazil to the highest levels in the country’s history.
The World Bank classifies Brazil as a lower- middle-income country. However, the economy is large and diverse, and exports are geographically well spread. There have been profound changes and durable reform in the past 10-15 years — the end of hyperinflation, economic liberalization, improved public finances, and a successful transition from a fixed to a floting exchange rate. This has been reflected in increased domestic savings and exports of goods and services.
Nonetheless, annual average economic growth in the past 10 years was modest, as the economy suffered a series of crises related to poor public debt dynamics in the context of a historical tendency to periodic debt default. The most recent crisis was in 2002, and it was ended by the incoming government’s tight fscal and monetary measures, consistent meeting of International Monetary Fund targets, and market-friendly structural reforms. Instability has remained at bay despite political scandal and elections.
Brazil trades regularly with over one hundred nations, with 74% of exports represented by manufactured or semi manufactured goods. Its main partners are: the EEC (representing 26% of the balance), the US (24%), Mercosur and Latin America (21%) and Asia (12%). One of the most dynamic sectors in this trade scenery is the so-called “agrobusiness” sector, which for two decades has kept Brazil amongst the most highly productive countries in areas related to the rural sector.
The owner of a sophisticated technological sector, Brazil develops projects that range from submarines to aircraft and is involved in space research: the country possesses a Launching
Center for Light Vehicles and was the only country in the Southern Hemisphere to integrate the team responsible for the construction of the International Space Station-the ISS. A pioneer in the field of deep water oil research, from where 73% of its reserves are extracted, Brazil was the first capitalist country to bring together the ten largest car assembly companies inside its national territory.
Brazil is weathering the current global economic crisis better than most other Latin American countries. Thanks to the recent development of a large middle class, together with the expansion of the country's natural resource-based industries, Brazil has managed to avoid falling into a deep recession in recent years, unlike nearly all of its Latin American neighbors. Moreover, the rapid expansion of the country's oil industry will help to boost Brazilian economic growth over the near-term.