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Brazil Added Jobs at Fastest Pace This Year in August

September 18th, 2009
Central bank President Henrique Meirelles

Central bank President Henrique Meirelles

Brazil’s economy created jobs in August at the fastest pace in 11 months, reinforcing bets that a faster-than-expected economic recovery may force policy markers to raise borrowing costs as early as April.

The Labor Ministry said today that it registered 242,126 jobs in August, compared with 138,402 in the previous month. The August growth total was the highest since September 2008 and exceeded President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s forecast this week that employers added 150,000 new jobs in the month.

Central bank President Henrique Meirelles yesterday urged companies to step up investment to meet growing demand in Latin America’s biggest economy. Gross domestic product expanded 1.9 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, as rising domestic consumer spending and demand pulled Brazil out of its first recession since 2003.

“The job creation figures increase the odds the central bank will need to raise rates in the first half of next year,” Pedro Paulo Silveira, chief economist at brokerage Gradual Corretora, said in a phone interview fro Sao Paulo. “The second-quarter growth forced analysts to substantially change their outlook for inflation.”

Yields on overnight interest-rate futures rose for a third day following the Labor Ministry announcement. The yield on the contract due January 2011, the most traded in Sao Paulo’s Bolsa de Mercadorias & Futuros, rose 12 basis points to 9.84 percent at 12:57 p.m. New York time, and earlier rose to 9.87 percent, the highest since Aug. 11.

Economic Outlook

On the strength of the faster-than-expected recovery, the government may revise its 2010 GDP growth forecast to 5 percent from 4.5 percent, Nelson Barbosa, the finance ministry’s top policy adviser, said yesterday.

Silveira expects the central bank to start raising rates in April to ensure inflation remains under control. He previously forecast the rate would stay unchanged at a record low 8.75 percent until the end of the first half. Policy makers may lift the so-called Selic rate to 11 percent next year, he said.

The central bank targets an inflation rate of 4.5 percent, with a plus or minus 2 percentage points.

“Inventories are depleted and companies realized the crisis wasn’t as strong as expected, therefore, they are rehiring,” Labor Minister Carlos Lupi said today.

The real gained 0.4 percent to 1.7969 per dollar at 1:00 p.m. New York time. Earlier, it traded at 1.7919 per dollar, the strongest level since last September.

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