UPDATE 1-Brazil economy robust in April, signals better 2nd qtr

Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:26am EDT

* IBC-Br index shows activity rose 0.84 pct in April

* Results slightly above market forecast of 0.80 pct

BRASILIA, June 14 (Reuters) - Economic activity in Brazil rose slightly more than expected in April, central bank data showed on Friday, signaling a better start for the second quarter after lackluster growth at the start the year.

The Brazilian central bank's IBC-Br economic activity index rose 0.84 percent in April from March in seasonally adjusted terms. The index for March was revised up to 1.07 percent growth from a previously reported 0.72 percent.

The median estimate in a Reuters survey of 17 analysts was for a rise of 0.80 percent in April for the index gauging activity in the farming, industrial and service sectors.

After two years of subpar growth, the Brazilian economy is still struggling as consumer spending slows and industrial output remains sluggish.

The country's gross domestic product grew only 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the previous one, surprising both private economists and government officials who were expecting a stronger rebound after a slew of stimulus measures.

Since then private economists have cut their average 2013 growth forecasts to 2.5 percent from 3.2 percent at the beginning of the year, according to a central bank weekly poll.

The IBC-Br index has in recent quarters been out of sync with quartelry gross domestic product figures published by the national statistics institute. The index showed economic expansion of 1.22 percent in the first quarter versus the prior one.

The central bank's index rose a seasonally unadjusted 7.30 percent in April over the same month a year ago.

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