Gross domestic product grew 7.7% on a year-to-year basis in the first quarter, down from 7.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and lower than many economists forecast, according to Chinese official data released on Monday. The median GDP forecast of 14 analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal was 8%. […]The economy showed further signs of slowing at the end of the quarter. Industrial output growth decelerated to 8.9% year-on-year in March, down from 9.9% in February. Retail sales also disappointed, with growth at 12.6% year-on-year in March, suggesting cautious households are being slow to support the government’s goal of raising domestic consumption.
And in Brazil, the price of tomatoes has skyrocketed, which is symptomatic of some deeper issues in the economy:
Brazil’s inflation rate remains well below that of other emerging nations, such as neighbouring Argentina, where it is more than 24 per cent. But last month it hit 6.59 per cent, breaching the top of the central bank’s target range of 4.5 per cent plus or minus 2 percentage points, and provoking concern in a society with a low tolerance for price rises.Although analysts expect it to moderate later in the year, it will continue to pose challenges for Ms Rousseff as she tries to kick start an economy that grew less than 1 per cent last year.
With the possible exception of Russia, none of the BRICS are in recession yet, and the slowdowns are mostly problems for the incumbent politicians. But smart investors should keep an eye on the bigger picture: the world economy is not out of the woods yet, and the BRICS, darlings of the commentariat not too long ago, are vulnerable to reversals too.