SAO PAULO – Labor unions staged a demonstration Wednesday in Brazil’s largest city to demand that the benchmark interest rate, currently set by the Central Bank at 13.75 percent, be cut, arguing that cheaper credit would boost the economy and create jobs.
About 100 protesters from the General Workers Union (UGT), Labor Union Force, Brazilian General Workers Confederation (CGTB) and other groups gathered in front of the Central Bank in Sao Paulo.
“If interest rates come down, there will be investment in production and employment would grow. Right now, the way industries operate, the money goes abroad and the misery stays in Brazil,” CGTB president Ubiraci Dantas de Oliveira told EFE.
In November, the Central Bank cut the benchmark interest rate to 13.75 percent in an effort to jump-start the economy after a 3.8 percent drop in the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015.
Analysts estimate that Brazil’s GDP contracted 3.49 percent in 2016.
The Central Bank is expected to announce the new benchmark interest rate on Wednesday, with analysts forecasting a cut of between 0.50 percent and 0.75 percent.