Aufsteiger-Check: Interview mit Ilan Goldfajn, Chefökonom der brasilianischen Bank Itaú Unibanco
IIm Aufsteiger-Check werden in der kommenden Zeit renommierte Ökonomen aus Brasilien, China, Indien und Russland zu den Aussichten in ihren Ländern und zur neuen Rolle der BRIC-Staaten in der Weltwirtschaft befragt. Heute: Ilan Goldfajn, Chefökonom der brasilianischen Bank Itaú Unibanco:
1. How strong will be the recovery of the Brazilian economy in 2010?
The Brazilian economy should grow 6.0% in 2010. This pace is above the average of the five years prior to the crisis. During 2004-2008 GDP grew 4.8% on average. We estimate a contraction of 0.1% for 2009. The recovery of the Brazilian economy has been strong since the second quarter of last year and should remain above the potential growth in this year.
2. Which factors are driving the recovery?
Domestic demand is the most important factor behind the recovery. Investment and employment have expanded as a result of: (i) consumption boosted by tax cuts; (ii) expansionary monetary policy; and (iii) fiscal stimulus. The strength in credit and job market should guarantee a robust growth during 2010.
3. What are the biggest risks to the development?
The biggest risks to development are the potential bottlenecks in two key areas: basic education and infrastructure. A lot of effort has been put to achieve the universalization of education – and that was achieved – but now the great leap forward would come from better quality of education. Brazil still fares poorly in international educational rankings.
The second hurdle is infrastructure. Roads, trains, airports, public transportation: all need more investment. Not enough was invested over the last 30 years so now Brazil needs to catch up.
4. How should the government respond to the risks?
The government should focus on removing the existing bottlenecks and the red tape to allow a boom in investment in these two areas (quality of education and good, efficient infrastructure). The necessary investments should be undertaken by both the public and the private sector.
5. How did the role of the Brazilian economy changed regarding the world economy due to the crisis?
Brazil fared well during the crisis. Its global role may have increased. Since the United States can no longer serve as the “consumer of last resort”, in the same manner as it did in the past, other countries are having to step up as candidates for this task. Brazil is certainly one of them. We have a thriving domestic economy, eager to consume and invest. Income distribution and growth has generated a new middle class. Consumers now have more income and greater access to credit. Stability and record low macro risk have made profitable several fine investment projects.
6. What will be the biggest challenges to the Brazilian economy in the years ahead?
The greatest challenge is to continue reforming the country, overcoming existing bottlenecks, and persisting with the current macroeconomic policies (floating exchange rate, responsible monetary and fiscal policies) that have reduced risks in the last decade or more. In addition, exploring the deep sub-salt oil will require reliable and efficient regulatory framework and good planning will be essential to meet expectations regarding the 2014 Football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Kommenden Dienstag: Arvind Panagariya – Wirtschaftsprofessor an der Columbia University und einer der renommiertesten Indien-Experten im Westen – zum Ausblick der indischen Wirtschaft.