The Brazilian economy is accelerating after a slow first half of 2012 and will remain on a growth trajectory, the country's finance minister said Wednesday in Paris.
"By 2020, Brazil will be the world's fifth-largest consumer market," Guido Mantega said at a press conference after meeting with executives from 14 French-based multinationals that have interests in the South American nation.
He said he told the business leaders that thanks to "sound fundamentals" and the absence of the budget deficits plaguing Europe and the United States, Latin America's economic giant is poised to continue growing despite global headwinds.
Brazil can afford to combine cost-cutting measures with new spending on infrastructure and has a strong domestic market that will continue to expand as more and more Brazilians enter the middle class, Mantega said.
He discounted the risk of inflation and said forecasters who predict Brazil will exceed the inflationary targets set by the central bank are "mistaken."
The veteran Brazilian finance chief criticized the U.S. Federal Reserve's recent decision to embark on a third round of quantitative easing while maintaining interest rates at record-low levels.
The Fed's approach hurts Brazil and other developing countries by pushing up the value of their currencies and thereby making their exports more expensive, Mantega said.
The minister said he was hopeful that once the U.S. presidential election is out of the way, Washington will implement policies to directly stimulate the economy and consumer spending. EFE