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How to resume growing 7% annually
Two economic development scenarios for Brazil in the next eight years are presented: an inertial scenario in which the present conditions are maintained and the other one in which the country reaches a growth of 7% annually. In order to reach the desired growth it is necessary a better use of the capital stock by increasing its productivity and its investments.
Note: The present text was revised taking into account data from the National Accounts until 2009 and the quarterly ones until the second quarter of 2011.
Keywords: Brazil, economic scenario, development, GDP growth.
There is a national wish regarding high GDP growth in Brazil so that the country can reach quickly the group of developed countries at the same pace of China and India. The debate about this possibility, which has a political connotation, does not explore fundamental aspects of the issue. Like a mantra, it is repeated that Brazil cannot grow because it does not have certain conditions such as adequate infrastructure, favorable taxes, lower interest rates, less corruption and higher stability relative to services regulation. However, not only concerning these questions but also the growth verified in the last eight years has demonstrated that other as important or more important variables are connected with this noble purpose. This is what will be analyzed in this article.
It is usual to compare growth rates in the FHC (2.3% annually) and in the Lula (4%) administrations. Few people have noticed that the investment rate was the same (16.9%) in the two periods and the difference is due to the capital productivity of the last administration.
Furthermore, the big GDP of 2010 (7.5% annually) has offered the perspectives that Brazil can growth at rates closer to those attained by China and India in the last ten years. This GDP growth has caused debated during months about the viability of Brazilian growth in this range or not. Our analysis shows that actually in the specific case of this year there was a compensation for constrains regarding the use of production capacity in the previous year. However, growth possibility in the next years seems possible.
The most used argument by those who say that the country cannot grow at high rates is to connect this growth only to annual investments that they believe will not grow. Our article tries to show the importance of capital productivity for growth in the past period without forgetting the need of increasing internal savings and investment rate.
Other difficulties such as education deficiencies, lack of entrepreneurs and professionals and even our Iberian colonization, as previously mentioned (ref. 1), are constantly used to conclude that it is impossible to have a higher economic growth in Brazil.
When the country grows in spite of those facts it is easier to speculate not only about the maintenance of the average growth in the Lula administration (4% annually) but also about our chances of growing above this value, say 7%, as we used to have in the 1950s and 1970s.
This study presents two growth scenarios:
In the first one the average annual internal savings rate (18.7% annually) of the Lula administration and the capital productivity of the last period (0.52) are maintained. With these conditions it would be already possible to grow 4.5% annually.
In the second scenario it was created the conditions for an average 7% GDP growth in the eight (8) years of Dilma’s administration and the following one. The simulations has shown that to reach this GDP growth it would be necessary to increase simultaneously capital productivity from 0.53 (in 2010) to 0.58 (in 2018) and the investment rate from 19.5% to 21% in the same period.
The capital productivity growth, practically absent from the debates about the increase of growth rate in the Lula administration is in fact one of the most powerful tool of the present and next administration to be used in order to exceed the present plateau and reach higher levels. A fact not explored by the debaters was that in the Lula administration, due to a successful income distribution policy, the productive sector improved the use of its installed capacity, that is, increased the productive capacity. So, in the present study, we have explored the national growth capacity emphasizing capital productivity – the perfect path in the hands of the present administration to make Brazil reach the world podium and face the challenge of becoming a BRIC as successful as China or India in terms of economic growth.
Growth, saving and productivity
In the Lula administration Brazil has reached an average growth of 4% annually in spite of the 2008 world crisis that is still lasting. Considering that the Brazilian growth in the medium term, mainly limited by production capacity (potential supply), continuing or exceeding this growth level depends on the internal and external circumstances that can be evaluated with the help of simple macroeconomic relationships.
Two fundamental factors are the investment rate and the productivity to be reached using the productivity capacity. The analysis that follows uses the projetar_e software (ref 2) to compare what happened in the two last administrations and make projections for the next years.
According to evaluations made by the e&e Organization and by IPEA about capital stock, Brazil is now capable of producing about half (more precisely 52%) of what it has been accumulated in the so called capital goods. Assuming that the present capital productivity is maintained, in order to have a 6% GDP growth the capital stock would also have to grow 6%.
Capital, due to wear out or obsolescence, is depreciated at an approximate rate of 4.5% annually. This means that Brazil would have to invest 10.5% (6%+4.5%) annually of the capital stock value, that is, about 21% of the GDP, provided that the capital productivity of 0.52 is maintained. That is, the present investment (about 18.5% of the GDP in the last administration) is not sufficient for a 6% growth annually.
In this framework, in order to reach 6% growth annually it is necessary to increase the investment rate and/or capital productivity or both.
It should also be considered that growth stagnation in Brazil, that lasted three decades, caused the accumulation of investment deficits, including sanitation and habitation infrastructure as well as transport and energy. Furthermore, Brazil is organizing two big sport events: the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games with their respective expenses. All this puts pressure on investment capacity and has repercussions on capital productivity.
In order to understand the problem it is necessary to examine what happened in the previous administrations.
GDP Growth in the FHC and Lula Administrations
Table 1 shows that the investment rate in the Lula administration was practically the same as that of the FHC one. The higher economic growth in the Lula administration relative to that of FHC is due to a better use of the productive capacity. In effect, capital productivity grew on the average 1.5% annually between the beginning and the end of the Lula administration. Table 1 also compares the external and internal savings shares in the FHC and Lula administrations. Understanding the growth differences in the two periods helps to formulate economic strategies in the present and next administrations.
Table 1: Comparison of internal and external savings, investments, capital productivity and economic growth in the FHC and Lula administrations.
(1) Transfer of Goods and Services (imports - exports)
(2) Capital productivity(Y/K) is the GDP (Y) and Capital Stock (K) ratio.
Na Figura 1, pode-se constatar, conforme assinalado na tabela acima, a redução do nível de poupança interna no Governo FHC em mais de 20% (quatro pontos percentuais do PIB). Uma extrapolação baseada no comportamento anterior é indicada.
Figure 1: Historical values of internal savings (current prices)
In Figure 2 it is shown the evolution of external and internal savings and the corresponding investment (sum of both) relative to GDP  . It should be noted that in the Lula period, mainly in the first administration, it was necessary to generate a significant external surplus (negative external savings).
This transfer, from the financial point of view, is carried out by paying the debt (principal plus interest) and remittance of dividends and it is a result expected by external investment. It reached 109 US$ bi, exceeding in 27 billion the entries in the FHC administration (82 US$ bi).
The positive point is that due to these remittances there was a reduction of the Brazilian net liability. This has permitted to reduce to zero the net external debt and decrease the net external liability from 58% to 18% of the GDP in 2010. Even though the accumulated external investment still puts pressure on remittances, this permits to expect that transfers abroad will be maintained close to zero in the next years.
Figura 2: External and internal savings and their sum (investment) in percent of the GDP, emphasizing the FHC and Lula periods.
Since external savings in the FHC administration has merely replaced the decreasing internal savings, there were no benefits expected from investments due to entrance of external resources that could compensate the future (forced) remittance of interests and dividends. The failed policy (liberalization) concerning the real increase of investments is a reality that has not yet been closely analyzed in the recent economic history.
The Planning Minister, Miriam Belchior, has declared in her oath of office speech that “it is possible to do more with less”. Regarding capital goods stock, doing more with less means increase productivity. Increase productivity, specially that of capital, is perhaps a challenge to the Dilma administration and to the following one. The total programmed investments to satisfy the development needs is a significant amount and some of them, particularly those referring to infrastructure, have a delay time regarding productivity, therefore in the short term they have a reduced productivity. On the other hand, the expected high productivity from oil exploitation and the good price of commodities should contribute to higher capital productivity. 
Two growth scenarios were envisaged for the next eight years: an inertial one where the present conditions are maintained - the “Maintenance” scenario –and another one aiming at reaching the desired 7% growth annually – “More with More”. This latter would require a higher internal savings level and an increase in capital productivity. That is, in order to grow in the desired level it is necessary to do more using the capital stock, increasing its productivity but it is also necessary to invest more to make it grow.
Expected growth Maintenance Scenario – (the present frame work is maintained and is based on the projetar_e software developed by ECEN Consultoria) In order to grow it is necessary that the productive park (capital goods stock) to grow and this depends on investments that result from internal plus external savings
Internal savings, whose behavior and extrapolation were shown in Figure 1, would be maintained in the average value of 18.8% of the GDP (the same as that in the Lula period) in the present scenario in the next eight (8) years. Since the external savings is practically zero, investments would be maintained in the same plateau.
Capital productivity presents a long term temporal trend that declined in the 1970s and presents now a slight increase. Around this trend there are oscillations that approximately coincide with the utilization factor evaluated by the industry and it has a conjuncture character. In the adopted projection it is assumed a utilization factor within the historical average and the capital productivity is maintained in the average value of the last years. The capital productivity behavior in shown in Figure 3 were it is also indicated the extrapolation for this scenario.
Figure 3: Capital productivity behavior: historical and projected in the maintenance scenario values.
Figure 4 shows the GDP annual variation rate and that of consumption. In order to increase the savings rate it is necessary the consumption growth to be lower than the GDP during some years. The GDP (value obtained by multiplying the capital stock by the capital productivity) would grow 4.2% annually from 2010 to 2018 and that of consumption would be 3.9% annually.
Figure 4: Historical and projected GDP and consumption variation rate for the “maintenance” scenario.
From projection of the resident population presented by IBGE, one can deduce the historical and projected variation of the GDP and of consumption as shown in Figure 5. The GDP per capita would grow 3.4% annually and consumption/capita, 3.2%.
IBGE in ipeadata.gov.br and projection: e&e
IBGE in ipeadata.gov.br and projection: e&e
Figure 5: GDP and consumption per capita variation and their projection (maintenance scenario).
More with More Scenario
(efforts necessary to reach a 7% growth based on the ECEN Consultoria projetar_e software).
The “maintenance” scenario has show the possibility of Brazil reaching a 4.2% annual growth with the internal savings kept at the level of the previous administration and the same capital productivity values of the earlier periods along eight years (Dilma’s administration and the next one). It was also estimated that with the same conditions but considering the capital productivity level the same as in the 1990s the GDP growth would be only 1.8%.
To point out what would be necessary to reach growth around 7% annually, as mentioned, is the objective of this chapter. In order to grow it is necessary the growth of the productive park (capital goods stock) and this depends on investments whose value is the result of internal + external savings, as previously mentioned.
Internal savings would have to grow 21% in 2020, as indicated in Figure 6. The behavior along the last decades shows that this is not a value outside the long term historical trend.
Figure 6: Evolution of internal savings and its projection in the “more with more” scenario
As in the previous scenario, it is assumed that the external savings (goods and services balance) is zeroed so that investment will reach 21% of the GDP, equal to the internal savings value.
In Figure 7 it can be seen the historical and projected behavior of the external and internal savings and of investments.
Figure 7: Historical and projected behavior of the external and internal savings and of investments.
Capital productivity has a long term temporal trend with oscillations ascribed to the utilization factor which is a conjuncture factor. For a utilization factor within the historical average, capital productivity in 2018 should be 11% higher than that in 2008 in order to reach the desired 7% annually value of the GDP. The projection is shown in Figure 8.
Figura 8: Evolução da produtividade de capital “histórica e no cenário “mais com mais”.
O PIB cresceria 7,1% no período de 2010 a 2018 e o consumo 6,6% ao ano, como mostrado na Figura 9. As condições para isto seriam: elevar a poupança interna de 19% para 21% do PIB, manter equilibrada (saldo zero) a balança externa de bens e serviços e elevar a produtividade dos bens de capital em 11% (1,3% ao ano).
The detailed values shown in Figure 9 regarding production and consumption show the rapid reaction of the Brazilian growth whose GDP decreased 0.6% in 2009 but reached the value of 7.5% in 2010, that is, an average value of 3.4% in two years. Regarding consumption, it grew 2.3% in the year of crisis (2009) and 6.8% in the following year, with an average growth of 4.5%, above the value of the Lula administration (4.0%). That is, from the consumption point of view there was no growth in the years 2009 and 2010 which justifies the “ripple” point of view adopted by the government to face the crisis. The supply reduction was due mainly to a preventive reaction of the productive sector. The most imported consequence on future growth was due to a decrease of investment rate, namely 2% of the GDP and consequently a reduction of 1% in production capacity.
This is an important fact now (August 2011) since the crisis in the USA and Europe produces very pessimistic views in the media regarding the future Brazilian growth. Actually the tale that a cold in the American economy means for sure a flu or pneumonia in Brazil is not repeated anymore. Celso Furtado pointed out that it was the opposite: the American crises were sensed in the short term but in general they were beneficial to the Brazilian economy in the medium term. In his book “O Capitalismo Global” (The Global Capitalism) he called attention to the fact that the 1929 and 1930 crisis in the USA produced in 1932 a notable internal restart based on the national market. From the most recent experience we know the other side of the coin, namely, the American prosperity in the Clinton administration was not beneficial to our economy and the 1990s became the second lost decade for Brazil. In the last issue of our periodical (ref 3) it was shown that the correlation between the growth rate in Brazil and that in the USA is practically non-existent along sixty years.
The recent data published by IBGE (December 2011 revision of this article) including up to the third quarter of this year show that the investment pace was maintained (19.5% average of the GDP) and the conditions for a “big GDP” in 2012 were created (as long as demand is improved).
Considering the population growth projected by IBGE, the GDP per capita would grow 6.2% annually and consumption/inhabitant, 5.7% annually.
In the way to reach 7% growth, the Dilma administration would be the transition one and in the simulation made the GDP would reach 7% only in the last year and the average growth would be 6%. Consumption would grow 5.2% on the average in the period.
How to reach a 7% annually sustainable growth
In order to reach this objective the first challenge would be to increase the investment rate and this would mean exchanging consumption for saving and investment. The required levels are not exaggerated mainly in a scenario where growth perspectives are clearly perceived. The only necessary condition would be that investment would grow 1% of the GDP more than consumption during two years. The effect on consumption growth can be perfectly assimilated, as previously pointed out in the scenario.
It should also be considered that investment grows when there are concrete perspectives regarding demand growth. Oil production growth and of all its productive chain, the expansion of the world agriculture demand and the big restrained demand of the Brazilian population, which is reaching new economic plateaus, are factors that seem to assure this demand. Another problem regarding investments increase in the real economy is the high interest rates fixed by the government. The opportunity created by the European crisis is embraced by the Central Bank in order to contain these interests. If it would be possible to channel savings to productive investment and not to consumption, considering the growth perspectives, this problem could be circumvented.
As an external factor, it is indispensable to maintain the regain of exchange trade  observed in the last years. Certainly, exchange trade improvement depends on external circumstances over which Brazil has little control. However, Brazil is rather strong relative to many of its export products to the world market so that it can prevent sudden oscillations in the international prices, alone or in agreements with other producers. As examples, we can mention iron ore, soybean and sugar. Supply and stocks should be in these cases an instrument in the mechanism of international commercial trade control. Examples of how effective an action of this type can be notice in the efforts of China to increase the supply of some products abroad. An effective action to make sure the excessive supply would not drastically reduce prices (as it occurred in the 1980s) should be a national concern.
However, what happens is a national and international race to produce these commodities in Brazil in a growing scale. This will lead to excessive supply that would result in low prices when demand is reduced. On the other hand, in occasions like now, excessive resources increase in an exaggerated way the supply of dollars and therefore the valuation of the Real. In these circumstances it is desirable to stimulate investments in more advanced stages of the production chain (for example, change from iron ore to steel production) or simply, as it is envisaged in the case of large mineral ore deposits, to tax the basic products in order to apply the resources in sectors or segments that in the medium and long terms can offer better results relative to the capital. Actually, it means to extend to other sectors, what is already done or what is planned to be done in the oil area in order to prevent the so called “Dutch disease”.
The following figure illustrates the importance of terms of trade (what quantity of imports can be purchased through the sale of a fixed quantity of exports) of Brazil relative to the growth rates of the country.
Relationship of terms of trade with the growth of the country
Figure below shows that the GDP growth is closely associated with the terms of trade even though the precedence that could indicate causality is not evident.
The second challenge to reach a GDP growth of 7% annually is connected with capital productivity. We have pointed out in different occasions a set of actions that could contribute to its increase. It is presented below.
1. Advance the capital stock measurement of the existing economic sectors and undertakings;
2. Elaborate and divulge sectoral indexes of capital productivity;
3. Evaluate previously capital productivity of new undertakings aiming at rationalizing investments;
4. Propitiate innovations that can increment the aggregated value of the product;
5. Give incentive to increase the utilization rate of the existing productive park and plan those to be created aiming at reducing the need of investments;
6. Evaluate and propose to the economic authorities sectoral goals and utilization rates in order to assure that the increase of productivity is due to the improvement of management capacity and use of technology and that it would not put pressure on inflation, as it is often interpreted (the larger utilization of the installed capacity is one of the triggers used by the financial authorities to increase interest rates).
7. Review whenever necessary the regulation of sectors in order to permit a larger production and a higher number of jobs using the same capital, thus favoring a higher use of the productive park;
8. Give incentives to consulting groups that can offer a capital productivity diagnosis;
9. Create an excellence network in the capital productivity area in order to organize and continue the efforts regarding increment of capital productivity by gathering information, giving incentives to studies, developing and applying management tools for this purpose.
In 1994, when there was a great euphoria caused by the idea that an accelerated growth was possible through modernization and openness, one of the authors of the present article (Carlos Feu Alvim) has coordinated a study that pointed out limitations to the Brazilian growth (ref 3), in which it was presented as the most probable scenario that of 2.4% annual growth for the 1993/2003 period, which proved to be true and opposing the expectations at that time.
Using the same methodology we have found out that the situation has changed and our analysis has shown that sustainable growth is possible. This is due to changes in the internal and external panoramas as we have tried to point out.
The two studied scenarios are maintenance or amplification of the economic growth. The long stagnation of a quarter of century that occurred in the Brazilian economy from the 1970s on would be over. The GDP per capita in 2020 would be between 15 and 18 thousand dollars (of 2010) as can be seen in Figure 10.
Figure 10: In the two studied scenarios there would be an important growth in the GDP per inhabitant on the contrary to what happened in the eighties and nineties when it remained practically stagnated.
A fundamental concern regarding development is to increase the technological content and improve the management in the enterprises. Market resources are also important regarding value aggregation.
Considering the value aggregation to products, the progress in the agriculture technology is demonstrating that even in the commodities area technology has an important role and makes all difference in the profitability of business. The progress reached by some Brazilian enterprises in the external commercialization of their products, in agribusiness and some industrialized products are also crucial in the effort to accelerate growth through productivity.
Other important efforts are under way, for example, the consolidation of support to the complete productive chain of critical sectors, foreseen in the industrial policy (MDIC and BNDES), as well as the effort of big enterprises like Petrobras to strengthen the different stages of its suppliers chain aiming at reaching the nationalization of internal production but with competitiveness.
It should be acknowledge the efforts in the last years to recuperate planning and more than that to follow up the execution of what was planned. This has been carried out in the PACs, PDP and it is hoped in the just launched Plano Brasil Maior. To plan, execute, verify and correct the diversion is the correct path to guaranty the national sustainable growth.
The economy that has reached a position among the ten largest in the world should have some areas in the world vanguard. For this reason, we consider quite relevant the efforts of our institutions  to promote development through the creation of centers and networks focused on reaching vanguard and excellence in some specific themes. We understand that when excellence islands will be established in the country we will raise the general managerial and technological level through results and examples and, therefore, bring wealth and national productivity.
The country lacks vanguard organisms to support the productive sector and, considering the similarities, support to the education, health, tourism, public management and etc. sectors. The establishment of such organisms or the re-direction of the existing ones would be fundamental for the national progress. Recently the Embrapii – Brazilian Enterprise of Research and Industrial Innovation that will be directly linked to the productive sector seems to be a good initiative in this sense  .In this context it should be also mentioned our suggestion regarding the establishment of a Vanguard Network which, as we have seen, could be decisive as a support to the desired development .
BNDES – Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social
BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India e China
COPPE - Instituto Alberto Luiz Coimbra de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa de Engenharia (a sigla corresponde a antiga Coordenação dos Programas de Pós-Graduação de Engenharia)
e&e – Economy and Energy (the Organization or the Periodical)
ECEN – ECEN Consultoria
Ecentex/COPPE/UFRJ – Espaço Centros e Redes de Excelência da COPPE/UFRJ
EMBRAPI – Brazilian Enterprise of Research and Industrial Innovation
FHC – Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Brazilian President
IBGE – Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics
IPEA – Institute of Applied Economic Research
K – Capital stock (of goods and capital)
MDIC – Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce
OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation Development
PAC – Plan for Growth Acceleration
PDP – Policy for Productive Development
GNP – Gross National Product
UFRJ – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
** - Coordenator of ECENTEX/COOPE/UFRJ and former director of Petrobras.
 It is assumed that the present capital productivity, namely 0.52, is maintained; as an example, for the present 50% productivity it is necessary a capital stock of 4.4 trillion dollars of investment accumulated in the productive park and a GDP of 2.2 trillion dollars.
 Which are 12% of the GDP.
 Considering the variation of the stock assimilated in the consumption one can write Y + M = C + I + X or
I = Y – C – (X-M) where I is the investment, Y the GDP, C consumption and X and M exports and Imports of goods and services (values calculated by the National Accounts at current prices)
 It should be remembered that we are measuring capital productivity at current prices and this means that the market price influences the measured capital productivity.
 The reason why the capital productivity has grown in the last years has not been sufficiently explained. Certainly this is related to the improvement of terms of trade that will be shown below. An internal cause to be considered is that the social growth has generated a demand of less sophisticated and less capital-intensive goods. It cannot be excluded the hypothesis that the economic openness in previous periods is causing a higher efficiency in the capital use.
 The projection program takes also into account that with increasing growth rate, a larger fraction is directed to machines and equipment; this is considered in the capital productivity projection.
 Entrepreneurs have a sensibility regarding the trend and decide to invest because of growth (real investment) or they can keep resources for better days (financing investment). The same happens with the individual regarding the acquisition or reform of a property and the investments markets. Therefore, stimulation of a pessimistic climate itself inhibits national growth.
 In order to increase investment in the real economy it will be necessary to solve the institutional problem of extremely high interest rates paid by the Government in competition with the productive investment. It should be mentioned that there is not a base in the economic theory that it is possible to combat inflation maintaining high interest rates during decades. They work when it is necessary to control demand during a short period and have the inconvenient of multiplying the supply of currency in the medium term which can aggravate inflation. Furthermore, if it is possible to decrease the amount of currency in the national market it is virtually impossible to do that the currency of the world. And when the external speculative investment is attracted, its conversion to Reais puts pressure on the exchange rate hindering the profitability of investments focused on exports.
 Terms of trade measures the relative prices of products exported by the country relative to those imported.
 ECENTEX/COPPE/UFRJ e Organização Economia e Energia – e&e
 Concerning this matter, the booklet “Vanguarda: Caminho para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável” should be consulted in http://ecentex.org. Its model for National Vanguard Networks has structures and objectives similar to those launched by EMBRAPI and its pilot project which recommends to take it into account to accelerate the growth of this enterprise and also taking advantage of the moment to create similar networks in the education, health, security, tourism, sports etc. sectors.
 Brazil has a conjuncture where it is possible to grow capital productivity that is below of the expected one in the present development level. The historical trend of this parameter is that it decreases when the GDP/inhabitant and the manpower cost grow. In order to continuing growing in the next periods it will be necessary higher investment rates and to aggregate technology and innovation in a growing scale to its products so that it can maintain or increase the capital productivity.
Graphic Edition/Edição Gráfica:
Wednesday, 17 October 2012.