The Business Environment of Brazil: Navigating the Financial Crisis

By Lyn Denend, R. McKern
2009 | Case No. IB96

In 2009, the Federative Republic of Brazil was the 5th largest country in the world in terms of its geographic area and population. At 3,290,000 square miles, its territory comprised nearly half of South America. It was also the most populous nation on the continent, with more than 190 million people. In economic terms, Brazil had grown to be the tenth largest global economy, with a 2008 GDP estimated at $1.99 trillion. When the global financial crisis erupted, Brazil’s president vocally and repeatedly asserted that Brazil would be able to “decouple” itself from the slowdown. However, in early 2009, it became clear that Brazil could not isolate itself entirely from events in the rest of the world. The country’s 2008 fourth quarter economic results were the worst in a decade. As analysts downgraded their 2009 growth forecasts into negative territory, it remained to be seen when (and if) Brazil would ever be able to realize its full potential. This paper provides a brief history of Brazil and explores its current position in the global economy.

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