The Brazilian economy is expected to shrink next year, on top of a sharp contraction forecast for this year, according to a weekly central bank survey of economists published Monday.
The report follows Sunday's mass protests against President Dilma Rousseff in dozens of cities across the country, where many called for her impeachment.
Economists in the survey expect the economy to shrink by 2.01 percent this year, steeper than 1.97 percent estimated last week. The median forecast of about 100 financial institutions included in the survey expect Brazil's gross domestic product (GDP) to contract slightly in 2016; in last week's survey, the median view was that the nation’s GDP would stay flat.
Brazil's economic woes were a key motivation for Sunday's nationwide protests, in which about 419,000 people joined demonstrations against Rousseff in dozens of cities, according to police estimates. That excludes figures from São Paulo, where the turnout had yet to be counted. Organizers of the rallies put the final tally at 664,000, Agence France-Presse news agency reported.
Brazil's slowdown, the worst in three decades, and a corruption scandal involving state-run oil producer Petrobras has dragged Rousseff's approval rating into the single digits. Brazilians says they are frustrated by what they believe is a lack of leadership across the political spectrum. Two-thirds of them want Rousseff's impeachment, polls show.
The economic woes amount to a giant reversal for Brazil since Rousseff first took office in 2011. At the time, the country was buoyed by a commodities boom and a consumer binge, and enjoyed a surge of international attention, along with Russia, India and China, as one of the booming “BRIC” economies.
Though recent protests don't measure up to the massive demonstrations of 2013, when more than one million Brazilians blasted public spending on the World Cup soccer tournament just as the economy was slowing, they are consistent with a prevailing sense of disillusionment with widespread corruption and cronyism.
Using social media, coordinated text message campaigns and word of mouth, grassroots organizations with names like "Revolted" and "Free Brazil" are channeling the frustration.
"There is no consensus in the parties or in the government," said Rogerio Chequer, the São Paulo-based leader of one grassroots group behind Sunday’s protests, Vem Pra Rua, which in Portuguese means to “take to the streets.” "But the politicians must know that there is consensus on the street," Chequer added.