Brazil June economic activity surges after record slide on trucker strike

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Economic activity in Brazil jumped in June, recovering ground after a nationwide truckers’ strike in May paralyzed Latin America’s top economy and prompted a record slide in the indicator.

The central bank’s economic activity index rose 3.29 percent from the month before, the Central Bank said on Wednesday, beating Reuters consensus expectations for a 3 percent rise.

The surge came after the index in May suffered its largest decline since it was introduced in 2003. In the final weeks of that month, truckers protesting high diesel prices blocked major Brazilian highways, creating product shortages and sharply driving up inflation.

Despite the cheery data, headwinds still cloud Brazil’s prospects for a strong recovery.

Although inflation and interest rates remain low, high unemployment has contained consumption, barring a more significant improvement in the economy in a year also marked by uncertainties linked to the presidential election.

The IBGE releases data for second quarter GDP on August 31. From January to March 2018, growth was 0.4 percent over the previous three months, marking the fifth consecutive period of growth, helped by farming. (Reporting by Patricia Duarte and Alexandra Alper Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)