During the first part of 2008, the Brazilian economy experienced high growth in most sectors with an outlook for that expansion to continue. The first nine months saw loosened credit conditions, rising internal demand and strong export activity despite unrelenting currency appreciation.
But the fourth quarter was a different story. Growth slowed at an alarming rate.
Though the country is still in positive territory, the fourth quarter of 2008 was surprisingly on the downside, according to Fernando Sedano, an economic consultant for Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI based in Brazil. "I expect a tough first half of 2009."
On the other hand, international companies that are already doing business there are seeing continued ...