The government reported the economy grew less than 1 percent for 2012, which was slightly below what economists expected. That expansion in gross domestic product was well below the 4.5 percent the country had been recently averaging, presenting a challenge for a government that needs growth to continue its social progress.
"We're suffering from a hangover from growing too fast, and the slowdown in 2011 and 2012 has been worse than we expected," said Caio Megale, an economist at the Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco. "We're waiting to get back on track in 2013 and 2014, but still, because of structural limitations we think that for the time being we'll grow slower than we did from 2005 to 2010."
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