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'Brazil’s growth stalled in the third quarter, a sign that the world’s second-largest emerging economy lost momentum before the government announced stimulus to contain the spillover from Europe’s debt crisis.

Gross domestic product contracted 0.04 percent from the previous three months, according to the national statistics agency, as credit curbs, higher borrowing costs and budget cuts checked demand. The contraction, the first since the first quarter of 2009, is equivalent to an annualized decline of 0.17 percent. '

'While Finance Minister Guido Mantega is targeting 5 percent growth next year, economists have steadily reduced their forecasts and see growth of less than 3.5 percent in 2012, according to weekly central bank surveys.

“The stimulus will prevent the economy from decelerating too drastically, but it won’t drive fast economic growth like Mantega wants,” said Enestor Dos Santos, senior Brazil economist for BBVA in Madrid, who forecasts 3.6 percent for 2012. As the global environment deteriorates, “five percent growth isn’t feasible.” '

'Industrial gross domestic product contracted 0.9 percent in the third quarter, the worst performer. Services GDP fell 0.3 percent, the statistics agency said. Agriculture was the only sector to post growth, of 3.2 percent, in the third quarter. Family consumption contracted for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2008, when it fell 1.9 percent, Roberto Olinto Ramos, coordinator of national accounts at the statistics agency, told reporters today. Investments fell 0.2 percent. '
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