* Brazil economy to strengthen in 2012-president
* Government to keep a lid on inflation-Rousseff
BRASILIA Feb 21 Brazil's economy will pick up
speed in 2012, the country's president said on Monday, in a
tacit acknowledgment that growth this year could hit speed
bumps after a strong performance last year.
"We know that the year of 2012 will be a year of a
stronger economic recovery," President Dilma Rousseff told
governors in the country's impoverished northeast.
A strong projected increase in the minimum monthly wage
next year would help boost consumer demand, Rousseff said.
"There will be a significant adjustment to consumer
The lower house of Congress last week approved only a
modest increase in the minimum wage [ID:nN16234548] for this
year. But based on a formula that considers economic growth of
previous years as well as inflation, the national minimum wage
next year is likely to rise significantly.
Latin America's largest economy expanded by an estimated
7.6 percent in 2010, putting it among the ranks of
fast-growing emerging market powerhouses that left behind
still struggling developed economies.
Those gains largely came on the back of Brazilian
consumers, who took advantage of relatively cheap credit, tax
breaks and a strong currency to pack shopping malls.
But economists in the most recent weekly central bank
survey saw the economy growing about 4.5 percent this year,
with inflation at 5.79 percent for the year.
Rousseff said the government would remain tough on rising
"We're perfectly aware of how to avoid inflationary
pressures in Brazil, and we won't let that happen," Rousseff
The central bank raised its benchmark interest rate to
11.25 percent in January from 10.75 percent in a bid to
contain price pressures. The clampdown on credit is expected
to help keep growth at around 4.5 percent next year, according
to a central bank survey of leading banks published on
(Reporting by Leonardo Goy; Writing by Luciana Lopez; Editing
by Jan Paschal)