Trade surplus is the highest for a March
Brazil’s surplus went over USD 7 billion last month. In the first quarter, it reached USD 14.4 billion, a record for the period.
São Paulo – Brazil had a trade surplus of USD 7.145 billion last month, the best result for a March in the historical series that started in 1989. Data from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC) made available this Monday (3) shows an increase of 20.1% in shipments in March over the same month of 2016, with USD 20.085 billion in revenues. Imports totaled USD 12.94 billion, up 7.1% in the same comparison.
In the quarter, the country had a trade surplus of USD 14.424 billion. The result is a record for a Q1. Exports totaled USD 50.5 billion, up 20.4% over Q1 2016, and imports totaled USD 36.042 billion, up 15.1% in the same comparison.
All product categories showed an increase in exports in March if compared to the same month of last year. Basic goods went up 29.7% to USD 10.014 billion, while finished goods increased 12.3%, totaling USD 7.24 billion, and semi-finished goods climbed 12.3%, reaching USD 2.373 billion.
According to MDIC, meat exports climbed 4.4% last month by the daily average, even with the impact of operation Carne Fraca, launched by the Federal Police, which generated many restrictions to the Brazilian product abroad. Beef was the only category to present a slight decline, of 1.7%, while poultry exports increased 7% and pork exports surged 33.4%.
To Herlon Brandão, director of the ministry’s Department of Statistics and Export Support, a downward trend in beef exports was already in place since the start of 2017, before the Federal Police’s operation was even launched.
According to Brandão, from January to March, foreign sales of the product declined 5.1% by the daily average in comparison to Q1 2016 (from USD 18.7 million to USD 17.2 million). The total amount exported dropped 1.99% in the same period (from USD 1.104 billion to USD 1.082 billion).
To him, the losses caused by the uncovering of frauds involving meat processing plants and inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture were reversed. “The government was able to reverse all of the main markets: European Union, Egypt, Iran, Japan, South Korea. The analysis says that the worst is gone. It was a scare, but we noticed that the shipments quickly normalized and closed the month with an increase in meat exports,” he said.
MDIC also highlighted the sales increase of iron ore, crude oil, soy beans, copper ore and coffee beans within basic goods; hydrocarbons, iron and steel pipe fittings, freight vehicles, refined sugar, passenger vehicles, pumps and compressors, tractors, flat-rolled products, centrifuges, polymers, pneumatics, aluminum oxides and hydroxides and auto parts within finished products; and synthetic rubber, iron and steel semi-finished products, cast iron, sawn timber, wood pulp and raw sugar within semi-finished products.
Brazilian exports increased 6.4% to the Middle East in March, driven by shipments of iron ore, poultry and beef, cattle, soy bran, chassis with engine, cast iron pipes, flat-rolled products, petroleum coke, raw sugar and coffee beans.
Regarding imports, MDIC highlighted the increase of 14.4% in fuels and lubricants, 10.6% in intermediate goods and 1% in consumer goods, while the purchase of capital goods declined 10.5%.
Shipments coming from the Middle East tumbled 22.3% in the month, driven by crude oil, fuel oils, natural gas, aviation kerosene, calcium phosphate, aluminum waste and scrap, hydrocarbons, yarn of textile fibers, electric wires, vegetable juice and extracts and synthetic rubber.
*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani