Brazil to overcome low growth, high inflation: minister

Brazil will overcome its current problems of low economic growth and high inflation, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said in an interview published Wednesday.

"This scenario (of high inflation and low growth) will pass," he told the economic daily Valor Economico.

In 2012, the world's sixth largest economy experienced a slowdown for the second year in a row, while inflation in January rose 0.86 percent, its highest level for this month since 2003, reaching 6.15 percent on an annualized basis.

Market analysts expect the country's GDP to post an anemic one percent growth in 2012, after a 2.7 percent expansion the previous year and a sizzling 7.5 percent in 2010. Official GDP figures for last year are to be released Friday.

Meanwhile, inflation closed 2012 at 5.84 percent, above the center of the official target of 4.5 per cent but below the upper limit of 6.5 percent.

Mantega, however, pointed to signs that the economy is heading for an upturn.

"Growth has been accelerating since the second half of last year and inflation is slowing down. They are moving in opposite directions," he said.

Yet he stressed that inflation was a "permanent concern" and attributed recent inflationary pressures to the high prices of commodities such as food.

"When I speak of concern it is always to mean keeping it under control. Runaway inflation affects the consumer, the investor. Controlling inflation is one of the key conditions for economic growth," the minister said.