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Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:30 AM


The Economist and President Rousseff clash over ‘Brazil cost’ and Mantega

President Dilma Rousseff reiterated she wouldn’t be influenced by The Economist magazine’s call for her to oust Finance Minister Guido Mantega after a growth report that fell short of government forecasts.

“Under no hypothesis will a Brazilian government elected by free and secret vote be influenced by the opinion of a magazine that isn’t Brazilian,” Rousseff told reporters in Brasilia. “We grew 0.6% last quarter and we’ll grow more in the next one.”

The London-based publication, in an article, “Breakdown of trust” urged Rousseff to fire Mantega for misleading investors with growth forecasts that were double the expansion registered in a third quarter report last week.

“She should fire Mr. Mantega, whose over-optimistic forecasts have lost investors’ confidence, and appoint a new team capable of regaining the trust of business,” the magazine wrote.

“In no way will I take under consideration this, shall we say, suggestion,” Rousseff responded. “I will not.”

Rousseff added that inflation is under control in Brazil, and unlike Europe, the country is not suffering a sovereign debt crisis.

Mantega was named Brazil’s finance minister in 2006 by Rousseff’s ally and predecessor Lula da Silva. In 2010, he presided over the country’s fastest growth in two decades, when GDP expanded 7.5% and won attention abroad for accusing rich nations of starting a “currency war” fuelled by record-low interest rates.

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