Brazil economy shrinks 0.2 percent in first quarter: official amj/jm

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

Brazil's economy shrank in the first quarter of the year, official data showed Thursday, taking Latin America's biggest country to the brink of recession for the first time in two years.

Gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent from the previous quarter, the statistics agency said, marking the first decline in the key gauge of economic activity since the end of 2016.

The figure confirms what many Brazilians already knew -- two years on from the devastating 2015-2016 recession Brazil's economy is still struggling to recover.

It is unwelcome news for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who took power in January on a promise to revive the economy.

His signature pension overhaul, seen as key to unlocking other much-needed economic reforms and repairing the country's finances, has stalled in Congress.