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Brazil raises 2020 GDP growth forecast to 2.4%

Brazil's Economy Ministry edged up its gross domestic product growth forecast for 2020 to 2.4% from 2.32%, as the country's special secretary for finance, Waldery Rodrigues, predicted that the government will double down on its fiscal efforts.

Rodrigues noted that the government expects its fiscal tightening efforts to have helped bolster employment levels and economic activity in the country, though he added that there is room for further improvement. "Not even half the necessary effort has been made," the minister said, according to local reports.

In its most recent outlook report, the Economy Ministry said it now expects consumer prices to increase by 3.62% throughout the year, nine basis points higher than its previous forecast from October 2019. The figure still falls within the central bank's 2.5% to 5.5% target range.

Rodrigues also reportedly pointed out that credit levels are currently "low and inferior to those desired" at 47.3% of GDP. The secretary said he would seek to raise the proportion to above 65% of GDP, though he did not state a timeline for this goal.

The official also said he expects 2019 to have ended with a primary budget deficit of approximately 70 billion reais, or 1% of GDP.

As of Jan. 13, US$1 was equivalent to 4.13 Brazilian reais.