Brazil's "economic miracle" is alive and well despite growing concern that the Latin American powerhouse is in danger of overheating, the managing partner of Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual said Monday.
Huw Jenkins told CNBC that, while Brazil's economy "ran a little too hot" on the back of post-crisis inflation measures, the country's "fundamental growth story is still fantastic."
Brazil's gross domestic product mushroomed 7.5 percent last year, overtaking Britain and France to make the South American nation the world’s fifth-largest economy. Jenkins now sees growth cooling to a more sustainable 4.5 to 5 percent, in line with government forecasts.
A key engine for growth going forward will be Brazil’s expanding middle class, which welcomed an estimated 34 million people into its ranks last year, Jenkins said. Coupled with increasing access to credit, the emerging demographic will continue to drive "endogenous growth," setting Brazil apart from more export-reliant emerging countries such as Russia, India and China, he said.
Nevertheless, Jenkins acknowledged that Brazil is growing increasingly dependent on trade partners such as China, which has been moving aggressively into the nation's energy sector. As Brazil's largest export market, "a sudden contraction in China is bound to have implications."
Jenkins, a former chief executive of UBS Investment Banking, joined BTG Pactual in 2010 in order to oversee its European business strategy.