Joaquim Levy

Anadolu Agency

LONDON — Brazil’s economy will shrink by nearly 3 percent in 2016, according to estimates published Monday in a weekly central bank survey of 100 of the country’s economic institutions.

Gross domestic product in Latin America’s largest economy will contract by 2.95 percent in the thirteenth consecutive cut in the outlook for 2016.

The predictions are more than previously expected by economists, as economic output and confidence continue to dwindle amid a prolonged political crisis.

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SÃO PAULO — Joaquim Levy stepped down as Brazil’s finance minister on Friday evening, ending months of speculation over his role. He was replaced by former planning minister Nelson Barbosa, who is seen as closer to leftist President Dilma Rousseff.

Levy was a proponent of tough fiscal measures which he backed to lift Brazil out of the worst recession it has experienced in 25 years.

His appointment and fiscal adjustment plans had been warmly welcomed by the markets, and was widely seen as an attempt by the government to draw greater confidence in the Brazilian economy from investors.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Brazil will cut its 2015 budget by a historic 69.9 billion Brazilian reais ($23 billion) to ensure the government hits its fiscal targets this year, planning minister Nelson Barbosa announced Friday.

The government also said the austerity measures, the biggest spending freeze in the country’s history, would act as a “first step” to returning Brazil to economic growth.

Barbosa said 38 percent (25.7 billion reais) of savings would come from cuts to the government’s Growth Acceleration Program – the ruling government’s flagship program funding new infrastructure projects.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Stocks and bonds of Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras slumped on Wednesday, after Moody’s stripped the company of its investment grade rating.

Petrobras shares on the São Paulo Bovespa stock exchange fell sharply on opening, and were still down 7 percent by 1 p.m. in the city (GMT1600), with the Ibovespa index down more than 1 percent at the same time.

The New York-based credit ratings agency announced late on Tuesday its decision to downgrade Petróleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, by two notches from Ba2 to Baa3 — from investment grade to speculative or “junk” territory. Read Full Article