Rio de Janeiro: The Brazilian economy grew 2.7 percent last year compared with 7.5 percent in 2010, a statistics agency said on Tuesday.

Brazil's gross domestic product climbed to 4.14 trillion reais ($2.4 trillion) in 2011, enough for the South American giant to supplant Britain as the world's sixth-largest economy.

Per capita GDP rose 1.8 percent to 21,252 reais ($12,536) per year, after advancing 6.5 percent in 2010.Growth for last year fell short of the forecasts of both the government, which called for 3 percent, and private economists, who projected an expansion of 2.8 percent.

For this year, the government is expecting that GDP will grow by 4.5 percent, while independent economists are predicting 3.3 percent.

Growth in 2011 was driven largely by household consumption, though the rate of increase in consumer spending declined from 6 percent to 4.1 percent, the IBGE statistics agency.

Economists attributed the deceleration of internal consumption to the restrictive measures adopted by the government at the beginning of last year to combat surging inflation."During the course of ... 2011, the growth of the working population and the income of workers, along with the expansion of consumer credit, sustained the growth in sales, mainly at the retail level, at a greater rate than that registered by industrial activity," the IBGE said.

Affected by the fall in demand abroad and by the crisis in countries that are important markets for Brazil, exports grew only 4.7 percent last year, while imports expanded by 9.7 percent."The appreciation registered in the real versus the dollar between 2010 and 2011 contributed to this situation. The average exchange rate went from 1.76 reais per dollar in 2010 to 1.67 reais per dollar in 2011," the IBGE said.

(Agencies)