The Brazilian economy has suffered its largest quarterly slowdown in nearly five years, contracting 0.5 per cent from the previous quarter, according to government statistics agency IBGE.

However, public spending in the Latin American nation grew 1.2 per cent in the third quarter.

Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) registered the poorest third quarter results of any country in the G20 or BRICS economic bloc, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Tuesday.

“We are the country with the lowest growth rate,” Mantega was quoted by Brazil’s G1 newswebsite as saying.

Mantega said that Brazil will see higher growth this year than it did in 2012, and stressed that 2013 has been a tough year not just for Brazil, but for the global economy.

“2013 is still a crisis year, probably the last one. We expect better scenarios next year,” he said.

The South American giant’s GDP totalled 1.2 trillion reals ($508 billion) in the third quarter of 2013, down 0.5 per cent compared to the second quarter of the year.

However, compared to the same period last year, Brazil’s GDP was up 2.2 per cent.

Mantega blamed the dismal third quarter results on a strong second quarter, saying “because of the high second quarter figures, third quarter results were low in comparison.”

Similarly, this year’s fourth quarter results, due to be released in February 2014, are more likely to show progress compared to the poor third quarter figures, he said, adding that Brazil is on a “path to growth.”