SAO PAULO (AP) -- Brazil's government is offering $8.7 billion in low-interest loans for people enrolled in a low-income housing program to outfit their homes with furniture and appliances.
President Dilma Rousseff launched the program Wednesday to boost domestic demand as the economy sags.
Brazil had bolstered its economy by stoking internal consumption, and its boom put 40 million more Brazilians into the middle class in the last decade. But their consumption has dropped and the economy grew just 0.9 percent last year.
But Rousseff says the lower middle class has limited access to credit, and she hopes they'll now start borrowing and buying. The new credit program will make $2,500 available to each household enrolled in the housing program at 5 percent annual interest, far below normal lending rates in Brazil.