Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil or República Federativa do Brasil), is a country in South America. It is the fifth-largest country by geographical area, the fifth most populous country, and the fourth most populous democracy in the world. The official language is Portuguese.Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion.
Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of over 7,367 kilometres (4577 miles). Brazil borders every nation on the South American continent except Ecuador and Chile. Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the department of French Guiana are to the north, Colombia to the northwest, Bolivia and Peru to the west, Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest, and Uruguay to the south. Numerous archipelagos are part of the Brazilian territory, such as Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo, Fernando de Noronha, Trindade and Martim Vaz and Atol das Rocas.
Brazil is crossed by both the Equator and Tropic of Capricorn, and as such is home to a vast array of flora and fauna, natural environments, and extensive natural resources. Its region within the tropics is, by far, the largest of any country; about twice as large as that of Australia. The Brazilian population is concentrated along the coastline and in a few large urban centers in the interior. While Brazil is one of the most populous nations in the world, population density drops dramatically as one moves inland.
Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until its independence in 1822. Initially independent as the Brazilian Empire, the country has been a republic since 1889, although the bicameral legislature (now called Congress) dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified. Its current Constitution defines Brazil as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the States, the Federal District, and the Municipalities. There are currently 26 States and 5,564 Municipalities.
One of the ten largest economies in the world, the country has a diversified middle-income economy with wide variations in development levels and mature manufacturing, mining and agriculture sectors. Technology and services also play an important role and are growing rapidly. Brazil is a net exporter, having gone through free trade and privatization reforms in the 1990s.
Economy of Brazil
Brazil's GDP (PPP and Nominal) is the highest of Latin America with large and developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, as well as a large labor pool. The country has been expanding its presence in international financial and commodities markets, and is regarded as one of the group of four emerging economies called BRIC. Major export products include aircraft, coffee, automobiles, soybean, iron ore, orange juice, steel, ethanol, textiles, footwear, corned beef and electrical equipment. Brazil has a diversified middle income economy with wide variations in development levels. Most large industry is agglomerated in the Southern and South East states. The Northeast is the poorest region of Brazil, but it has attracted new investments in infrastructure for the tourism sector and intensive agricultural schemes. According to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Brazil has the ninth largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity (PPP) and tenth largest at market exchange rates. Brazil had pegged its currency, the real, to the U.S. dollar in 1994. However, after the East Asian financial crisis, the Russian default in 1998 and the series of adverse financial events that followed it, the Brazilian central bank has temporarily changed its monetary policy to a managed-float scheme while undergoing a currency crisis, until definitively changing the exchange regime to free-float in January 1999.
Brazil received an IMF rescue package in mid-2002 in the amount of USD 30.4 billion, a record sum at that time. The IMF loan was paid off early by Brazil's central bank in 2005 (the due date was scheduled for 2006). One of the issues the Brazilian central bank is currently dealing with is the excess of speculative short-term capital inflows to the country in the past few months, which might explain in part the recent downfall of the U.S. dollar against the real in the period. Nonetheless, foreign direct investment (FDI), related to long-term, less speculative investment in production, is estimated to be USD 193.8bn for 2007. Inflation monitoring and control currently plays a major role in Brazil's Central Bank activity in setting out short-term interest rates as a monetary policy measure