Capital: Brasilia Population: 201,103,330
Religions: Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census).
Location: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Government: Federal republic. Chief of state and head of government: President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (since Jan. 1, 2003). Economy: Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, Brazil’s economy outweighs that of all other South American countries, and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. Since 2003, Brazil has steadily improved macroeconomic stability, building up foreign reserves, reducing its debt profile by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments, adhering to an inflation target, and committing to fiscal responsibility. In 2008, Brazil became a net external creditor, and two ratings agencies awarded investment grade status to its debt. After record growth in 2007 and 2008, the onset of the global financial crisis hit Brazil in September 2008. Brazil’s currency and its stock market — Bovespa — saw large swings as foreign investors pulled resources out of Brazil. Brazil experienced two quarters of recession, as global demand for Brazil’s commodity-based exports dwindled and external credit dried up. However, Brazil was one of the first emerging markets to begin a recovery. Consumer and investor confidence revived and GDP growth returned to positive in the second quarter, 2009. The Central Bank expects growth of 5% in 2010.
GDP per capita: $10,200 (2009 est.); inflation: 4.2% (2009 est.); unemployment 8.1% (2009 est.)
Currency: Reals (BRL); 1.784 reals equal 1 U.S. dollar (July 16, 2010)
Exports: $153 billion (2009 est.): transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee, autos.
Imports: $127.7 billion (2009 est.): machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil, automotive parts, electronics.
Major crops/agricultural products: Coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef. Agriculture: 6.1% of GDP and 20% of the labor force.
Internet: Code. .br; 15.929 million (2009) hosts and 64.948 million (2008) users.
Source: The CIA World Factbook