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Gross domestic product grew by 2.7pc last year, down from 7.5pc growth in 2010, dragged back by higher business costs and lower industrial output. Economists had forecast a 2.8pc rise in gross domestic product. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, Brazil's GDP grew by 0.3pc in the final three months of 2011, against expectations of a 0.2pc rise.

Despite lower annual growth, economists at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said Brazil still managed to take Britain's spot as the world's sixth-largest economy last year, behind the US, China, Japan, Germany and France.