Brazil’s Central Bank Survey Forecasts Weaker Dollar

    In the view of the 100 market analysts surveyed by Brazil’s Central Bank (BC) for its Focus bulletin, the exchange rate of the dollar is not expected to hold at its current level of  2.33 reais. They predict that the dollar will be worth 2.28 reais at year’s end.

    This still represents a slight appreciation of the dollar in relation to last week’s prediction of 2.25 reais. The shift reflects the BC’s interventions since mid-November to sustain the dollar.

    On the other hand, the survey presents a bleaker outlook for the value of the dollar in 2006, down from 2.42 reais in last week’s survey to 2.40 reais.

    The private sector economists are somewhat more optimistic with regard to Brazil’s annualized benchmark interest rate (Selic), which will end this year at 18%.

    According to the Focus bulletin, the overall prognosis is that the rate will drop to 15% during the course of 2006, compared with last month’s prediction of 15.50% and last week’s prediction of 15.25%.

    The Brazilian Central Bank survey maintained its projection of 2.48% for this year’s growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which represents the sum of all wealth produced in the country, while the projection for next year’s GDP continues to be 3.50%.

    However, the forecasts for growth in industrial production were lowered from 3.15% to 3.13% for this year and from 4.50% to 4.30% for 2006.

    The market analysts’ estimates of the country’s trade surplus (exports minus imports) remained unchanged at US$ 44 billion for this year and US$ 36.90 billion for 2006.

    They raised their forecast for this year’s current account surplus, which covers all of the country’s foreign commercial and financial transactions, from US$ 14.50 billion to US$ 14.70 billion, while their prediction for next year remained unchanged at US$ 7.50 billion.

    The Focus bulletin registers a drop in estimated inflows of foreign direct investments in the productive sector. The previous prediction of US$ 16 billion for this year was lowered to US$ 15.50 billion, and the prediction for 2006 was reduced from US$ 15.50 billion to US$ 15 billion.

    Agência Brasil

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