3-1-18 8:03 AM EST | Email Article
By Jeffrey T. Lewis 

SÃO PAULO -- Brazil's economy returned to growth in 2017, after two years of contraction, as investment spending and industrial production helped pull the country out of its worst recession on record.

The South American country's gross domestic product expanded a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in the fourth quarter from the third, and grew 1.0% during 2017, Brazilian statistics agency IBGE said Thursday. GDP increased 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2017 from the same period a year earlier.

The long-awaited recovery came after confidence returned to the country's businesses and consumers as price increases slowed, interest rates fell and the country's tumultuous political situation started to settle down.

"We can see clearly that the level of confidence of our clients is improving, that started in general last year," said Marcos Camara, chief executive of Paranapanema SA, a Brazilian maker of copper products including piping, wires and sheeting.

His company has seen an increase in demand from the automotive, electronics and refrigeration sectors, among others, and has hired about 200 new workers in the past six months while adding a third shift to Paranapanema's São Paulo plant to keep up with the surge, Mr. Camara said.

Investment, as measured by gross fixed-capital formation, increased 2.0% in the fourth quarter from the third, and grew 3.8% from a year earlier, IBGE said. Industrial activity rose 0.5% and 2.7% over the same periods.

Paulo Trevisani contributed to this article

Write to Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 01, 2018 08:03 ET (13:03 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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