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Brazil 3Q GDP +0.8% On Quarter

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11/30/2018 | 06:35am EST

By Luciana Magalhaes and Jeffrey T. Lewis

SAO PAULO--Brazil's economy expanded in the third quarter, helped by growth in the agriculture and service sectors.

Gross domestic product rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8% in the third quarter from the second, and expanded 1.3% from the same period a year earlier, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, or IBGE, said Friday.

The agriculture sector grew 0.7% in the third quarter and 2.5% from a year earlier, and services increased 0.5% in the quarter and 1.2% from a year ago.

The industrial sector grew 0.4% in the quarter and 0.8% compared with the third quarter of 2017.

The economy's recovery from a strike at the end of May by truckers protesting a spike in diesel fuel prices was one of the main drivers of growth in the quarter, according to analysts. During the labor action, drivers blockaded highways around the country, preventing supplies from reaching their destinations and shutting down factories, including all Brazil's auto plants.

"Services and industry are now recuperating after the negative impact from the strike earlier this year, " said Jason Vieira, chief economist at Sao Paulo-based Infinity Asset, who added the fourth quarter will likely be even better, reflecting rising confidence following the presidential election last month.

At the end of October, Brazilians elected far right Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper, who promised to revamp the economy with market-friendly policies, including pension reform and a series of privatizations.

"Markets like what they're hearing" from Mr. Bolsonaro, said Gabriel Kallas, founding partner at Toro Investimentos, a Brazilian brokerage firm focusing on financial education and technology. "We're more optimistic."

Mr. Kallas said he sees Brazil's economy gaining speed in 2019, after struggling to return to growth after last year climbing out of a two-year recession.

Write to Luciana Magalhaes at luciana.magalhaes@wsj.com and Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com

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