Statistics and market data on Brazil
The Federal Republic of Brazil is the largest country in South America and the Latin American region. It is the fifth largest country in the world, based both on geographical area and on population. The country occupies just under half of the continent of South America and is the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world. It has almost 7,500 kilometers of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile. Brasilia, the country’s capital, is also the country’s fifth largest city, whilst Sao Paulo is the biggest city with over 20 million inhabitants as of 2014. The average age of the population in Brazil has risen steadily over the last fifty years and it is expected to exceed 30 years for the first time in 2015. This is, in part, due to the declining fertility rate and rise in life expectancy in the country. Brazil is also becoming increasingly urbanized, with over 85 percent of the population living in urban areas in 2013.
Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas due to the fact that it was a Portuguese colony until 1808. Its independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil and it became a presidential republic in 1889. Brazil’s current Constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a federal republic and it is composed of the Federal District, 26 states, and over 5,500 municipalities. The Brazilian president, as well as all members of the executive and legislative branches of government, is directly elected.
Brazil has the world’s seventh largest economy by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity, as well as the largest national economy in Latin America. It is a member of the BRIC group and had, until 2010, been one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. The steady growth rate of the GDP in recent years has seen the country gain new international recognition and influence. The Brazilian economy is characterized by moderately free markets and an inward-oriented outlook, but there are still major issues with corruption. Corruption within business and local government cost Brazil an estimated 53 billion U.S. dollars in 2013 alone, with the average annual cost of corruption between 1.3 and 2.3 percent of the country’s total GDP.
The service sector is the largest component of Brazil’s GDP at almost 69.32 percent, followed by industry at just under 25 percent and agriculture at 5.7 percent. Among the country’s diverse industries are steel, computers, aircraft and automobiles, with the latter becoming the fourth largest regional market in the world. The country’s workforce is estimated at over 100 million, with 62.7 percent employed in the services industry. The unemployment rate has more than halved in the last ten years from 11.48 percent in 2004 to an estimated 5.5 percent in 2014. However, this figure is expected to rise marginally in the next few years as the country fell into recession in 2014.
Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years and is also the largest exporter of soybeans and sugar cane. Overall, Brazil’s export of goods was worth over 242 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, with the U.S. and China being its two biggest export partners. The country’s largest company is Petrobas, a multinational energy corporation headquartered in Rio de Janiero, which generated revenue of around 130 billion U.S. dollars in 2013. A significant sector of Brazil’s service industry is its banking sector, which accounted for as much as 16 percent of the country’s GDP in the early 1990s. Today, the financial services industry provides local businesses with a wide range of products, and Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES, plays an important role in the country’s economic growth.
Tourism is also a growing sector in Brazil and is key to the economy of several regions of the country. Brazil had an estimated 5.7 million visitors in 2012, with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo amongst the most popular destinations for international tourists. Many of these tourists come from nearby Argentina and the United States, although large numbers also visit from Germany and other European countries. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil also boosted the tourism industry, with estimates showing that tourist spending in restaurants and bars increased 273 percent during the World Cup compared to the same period in the previous year.