Brazil's Economic Activity at Start of Third Quarter Beats Expectations

The Brazilian economy kicked off the third quarter with a stronger-than-expected pace, bolstering recent upward revisions in the country's GDP growth forecast for 2023, Reuters reported. The IBC-Br economic activity index, a key predictor of gross domestic product, registered seasonally adjusted growth of 0.44% in July from June, surpassing the median forecast of a 0.3% expansion in a Reuters poll of economists. According to the central bank, the IBC-Br was up 0.66% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis from July 2022 and marked a rise of 3.12% in the 12 months. The data has revealed a significantly more resilient economy since the beginning of the year, and this trend has been sustained in recent months, said Rafael Perez, an economist at Suno Research. However, Perez said he expected greater stability in economic activity by the end of this year, citing the cumulative effects of the central bank's restrictive monetary policy. The central bank initiated an easing cycle last month, lowering its key interest rate to 13.25% after keeping it unchanged for nearly a year to combat high inflation in South America's largest economy. Policymakers are expected to once again reduce rates by half a percentage point on Wednesday. Read more.