Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil emerges from recession as GDP grows 1%

A visitor take pictures of a board at the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange (B3), in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 18, 2017. Brazilian financial markets plummeted on opening Thursday in the wake of a bombshell report that President Michel Temer approved paying hush money to a corrupt politician. T Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brazil's stock market plummeted last month but on Wednesday there was good news

Brazil's economy has grown 1% in the first three months of 2017, putting an end to the country's longest recession in history, officials have announced.

The GDP increase came after two consecutive years of negative growth, during which the Brazilian economy shrank by almost 8%.

A record harvest of soybeans, one of Brazil's main exports, gave the economy a boost.

But analysts warned Brazil could go back into recession in the near future.

A record 14 million people are unemployed according to official figures released earlier this week.

Uncertainty over the future of President Michel Temer has also rattled the markets.

Stock markets plummeted last month after a taped conversation was leaked in which the president seemed to discuss the payment of hush money to a jailed politician.

Mr Temer has denied the allegations, saying the tape had been "manipulated" but there have been growing calls for his resignation.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Temer has been defending himself against allegations of corruption

The ongoing corruption scandal has also thrown Mr Temer's planned economic reforms into doubt.

The president wants to push austerity reforms through Congress to restore fiscal discipline but his plans have been met with street protests.

There has been particularly strong opposition to his proposal to overhaul the pension system and raise the retirement age to 62 for women and 65 for men.

The plan triggered Brazil's first general strike in two decades.

Thursday's GDP growth announcement is expected to bolster the president's chances of staying in office and pushing through his reforms.

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