Fortaleza economy becomes largest in northeast Brazil

Over the last decade, the Fortaleza economy has grown from strength to strength. Large-scale investment from both the public and private sectors in the city and in Ceará state have reaped rewards in terms of GDP growth.
 
The city now ranks as the largest economy in Northeast Brazil, ahead of its traditional rival, Salvador. Ceará itself is currently registering strong GDP expansion. In Q3 last year (latest figures available), the state posted an increase of 16.7% in quarterly GDP figures.
 

Fortaleza economy overtakes Salvador

Figures released in December last year show that Fortaleza registered the highest GDP for a city in Northeast Brazil. The capital of Ceará overtook Salvador, the capital of Bahía, for the first time since records began in 2002.
 
According to the Brazilian Statistical Agency (IBGE), Fortaleza had a GDP of R$67 billion in 2018 (latest figures), considerably ahead of Salvador with R$63.5 billion. The third highest regional capital in Northeast Brazil was Recife with R$52.4 billion.
 

Ninth largest nationally

In terms of figures for all cities in Brazil, the Fortaleza economy stands in ninth place. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro dominate the rankings. Between them, the two cities account for 15.4% of the national GDP. For its part, Fortaleza contributes 1% of Brazil’s total economy.
 
“The capital of Ceará brings together not only the best wholesale and retail centres, but also a network of the highest quality services,” said Maia Júnior, Secretary of Economic Development and Employment in Fortaleza. “It’s also very competitive from a regional point of view, which includes tourism and the creative economy,” she added.
 
Júnior emphasised the need to sustain the growth of the Fortaleza economy over the next few years. She also underlined its prospects for expansion to create a new economic future.
 

Strong growth in 2020

If the latest GDP figures for Ceará state are anything to go by, that future would appear to have already arrived. In December last year, Ipece, the state’s economic institute, published data for Q3 2020, which showed quarterly growth of 16.7%.
 
This is over double the national rate (7.7%) and a quantum leap from the drop of 13.45% in Q2. Industry and services were the mainstays of growth. Industry saw a huge uptick of 41.57%, almost triple the increase in Brazil as a whole (14.8%).
 
Services too registered a significant rise with the sector going up by 12.49% in Q3 in quarterly terms. The figure almost doubles the increase in Brazil (6.3%).
 

Outlook for Ceará economy in 2021

The figures for Q3 last year mean that analysts are optimistic about 2021, for both the state and Fortaleza economies. Provisional figures from Ipece point to a total decrease of 4.18% in GDP for 2020, very slightly less than the expected 4.41% drop for Brazil.
 
Ipece forecasts 4% growth for Ceará in 2021 as the state gets back on track. Industry should remain strong throughout the year with civil construction one of its main pillars. The Ceará property market posted excellent results throughout the second half of last year and all indicators point to a similar pattern in 2021.
 
Services too are set to continue their upward trayectory as tourism gradually picks up. Brazilian holidaymakers have embraced Ceará as one of their favourite destinations and as a result, the state posted strong results in 2020. The staycation trend is expected to continue throughout 2021 as international visitors return to Fortaleza and Ceará.
 
(Source: Ceará government, Ipece)

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