Brazil economy barely grows in 1st quarter

Associated Press + More

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil's economic growth has slowed to a near halt as the government reports expansion of just 0.2 percent in the first quarter over the fourth quarter last year.

That's below government expectations of 0.5 percent growth.

Both drought and floods punished the agricultural sector. The IBGE statistics agency says it fell 7.3 percent from last year's fourth quarter.

Officials say the crisis in Europe is also taking a toll.

Brazil's economy grew 2.7 percent last year, making it the weakest of the BRICS emerging nations. Finance Minister Guido Mantega says that despite that showing, the government still forecasts growth between 4 percent and 4.5 percent this year.

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