With a political crisis looming large in Brazil, the already struggling economy is being hit harder and the markets are in deep turmoil. For investors it is important to understand what is going on and the only way to do that is to look at economic indicators from credible sources. Like the overall state of a stock market is determined by its market indicators, the state of a national or regional economy can be understood by reviewing its economic indicators. There are a few economic indicators that are commonly tracked for all countries:

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): GDP remains the most tracked economic indicator for all countries. Other associated variants include GDP growth rate, Gross national product, GDP per capita, etc.

Labor-related indicators: population (and percent increase), unemployment, employment, wages (generic or sector specific), etc. are commonly tracked figures for labor-intensive economies. Additionally, related static figures like retirement age (men and women), minimum wages, etc. are also used for economic analysis.

Price-related indicators: Inflation figures such as consumer price index (CPI), wholesale price index (WPI), and sector-specific figures like food inflation are some of the commonly tracked price-related gauges.

Additionally, there can be country-specific economic indicators useful to assess the certain potentials of a particular country, since each country may have specific market scenarios, developments, and needs.

One of the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), Brazil is one of the major emerging economies of the world, and 9th by size in the world according to the latest World Bank data which pegs its GDP at $1.8 trillion. While a few years ago Brazil was expected to become the fourth-largest economy of the world, surpassing western countries, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, the political drama pushed it into another direction and slowed the pace of growth.

Commonly tracked indicators for Brazil are centered on inflation, employment, foreign trade, GDP, industrial production, monetary policies, and retail sales index. Brazil is a service-based emerging economy with a large population, abundant natural resources, and challenges around corruption and geo-political dependence. These indicators more or less cover developments having significant impact on the Brazilian economy.

Numerous data sources are available to access, research, and analyze the economic indicators for Brazil. Here are some of the most respected:

Banco Central Do Brasil (BCB): The Central Bank of Brazil is the principal monetary authority of the country, linked to the Ministry of Finance. It offers the official figures for numerous economic indicators on its website, including economic outlook, currency and credit, financial and capital markets, public finance, balance of payments, and international economy.

OECD: The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development provides statistical data (more than 100 indicators), economic survey reports, and working papers for numerous countries. As it is an independent organization, data and reports from the OECD are perceived to be politically neutral.

Trading Economics: One of the free resources to track economic indicators for Brazil is Trading Economics. Available under neatly organized categories of Markets, GDP, Labor, Prices, Money, Trade, Government, Business, Consumer, and Taxes, data is presented with graphs and charts. Users can further drill-down to historical data and compare with other economies for selected parameters and factors.

IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) provides country-specific macroeconomic data for Brazil, which includes interest rates, inflation, industrial production figures, unemployment rate, and foreign exchange rates.

Economy Watch: Economy Watch offers top-level economic details for Brazil under their economic statistics section, with links to detailed information for further analysis. One good feature of Economy Watch is that it has historical (from 1980) and forecast data (until 2018), which will be useful for economic researchers and analysts.

World Bank: The World Bank also offers economic data for Brazil, under its own unique categories: World Development Indicators, Global Economic Prospects - Forecasts, Projects & Operations, Finances, Surveys, and Climate. With rich online interactive charts, graphs, and tools for comparative analysis based on multiple parameters, the World Bank's site also enables easy data download for offline analysis. For example, the Projects category, among other details, covers the geographical locations of highlighted projects on an interactive map.

Quandl: Quandl provides multiple data sets for Brazil, including Economy Data, Economic Growth, Unemployment and Labor, Inflation, Asset Markets, Government Finances, Industry and Business, Productive Sectors, International Trade, Balance of Payments, and Tax Structure. Other available features include industry-specific/sector-specific coverage and data on demography, education, mortality, and unemployment. Quandl sources data from The World Bank, the United Nations, Open Data for Africa, Rate Inflation, individual central banks, and government statistical agencies to provide a unified view across different data sets to the end user.

Index Mundi: Providing country-specific economic profiles, Index Mundi has good coverage for Brazil. While this coverage is limited to facts and figures without much interactive details, it comes in handy for a quick snapshot about nation’s economy.

The Bottom Line:

While at one time Brazil, along with other BRIC countries, featured prominently on investors' radar, its economy has far from achieved the potential it was believed to have. Brazil's economic indicators will be closely tracked for meaningful insights, leading to important investment and economic decisions, which in turn, could lead to the future development of Brazil.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.