May 16, 2014, 08:16:00 AM EDT

SAO PAULO–Brazil reported a drop in economic growth in March compared with February, as retail sales and industrial production were down in the period, pointing to another mediocre economic performance for the Latin America’s largest nation this year.

The Brazilian central bank’s economic activity index, or IBC-Br, was down 0.11% in March from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis. Growth was up 2.11% in the latest 12-month period, according to the index, which was published Friday.

The data were slightly above the average drop of 0.18% that had been expected by economists. During the period, retail sales and industrial production dropped.

The IBC-Br index is widely considered a leading indicator for gross domestic product growth, but has sometimes been criticized for not capturing tepid economic activity.

The weak figure for March reinforced economists’ views that the country will post another poor economic performance this year. Economists see growth declining this year to around 1.7%, from a 2.3% expansion in 2013, a rate that economists consider low for a developing nation.