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28/06/2017 - 07:00hs

Exports to Arabs increased by 11%

From January to May, shipments from Brazil to the countries in the region totaled USD 4.84 billion. Imports climbed 23.7% in the period.

São Paulo – Exports of Brazilian products to Arab countries climbed 11.24% from January to May when compared to the first five months of 2016. According to data from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC) compiled by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, revenues with shipments to the region totaled USD 4.84 billion in the period.

Saudi Arabia was the region’s largest buyer, accounting for USD 1.19 billion of exports revenues, 15.5% more than from January to May of last year. Right after it come the United Arab Emirates with USD 850.4 million and a growth of 11.2%, and Algeria, with USD 524.23 million and a 26.9% imports increase.

Foreign sales to Djibouti presented the sharpest growth in the period with a 370% surge. It was followed by Qatar, with a 90.7% climb, Bahrain, with 76.7%, Oman, with 64.5%, and Iraq, with 62.9%.

Rubens Hannun, the Arab Chamber’s president, pointed out that the good performance by Morocco: shipments to the African country increased 53.8% totaling USD 247.8 million from January to May. “These are the actions of the Arab Chamber bearing fruit. We were able to enter Morocco’s meat market and exports climbed strongly,” he said.

Although Morocco’s meat import tariff is extremely high (200%), since last year, after negotiations with the Arab Chamber, Brazil is able to take part in biddings to supply the product to the country’s government bodies without the fees incurring in it. With this, meat sales to this market increased 25-fold in volume from January to May.

In contrast, Egypt, an important trade partner for Brazil, reduced its purchases in 46.4% in the period. According to Hannun, it’s something occasional: the country is going through difficulties due to the foreign exchange rate. The Egyptian pound went through a strong devaluation since the end of last year when the Central Bank floated the local currency. “We are searching for forms of cooperation with the Brazilian government. It’s important for Egypt to continue to be supplied.

The main products exported to the Arabs were sugar, with USD 1.55 billion in revenues, meats, with revenues of USD 1.48 billion, and ores, with USD 484.4 million in revenues. Hannun mentioned that, even under the impact of Operation Carne Fraca, which caused the suspension in the import of Brazilian meat for a few days in some countries, including Arab ones, shipments of the product to the region declined only 1.1% in the period.

“The Arab Chamber’s quick answer, along with the Ministry of Agriculture, which included a mission to the countries of the region, helped mitigate the impact,” said the president.

Among the highlights in exports growth were defense material, with an increase of 726.23% in sales in the period, ores, with a 150% growth, live animals, with an increase of 60.6%, iron articles, with 39.7%, and vehicles, with sales going up 38%.

Trade balance

As well as exports, imports from the Arab countries climbed from January to May. Brazilian purchases were 23.7% higher, totaling USD 2.79 billion. Algeria is the country’s main supplier with USD 1.084 billion in sales to the country, followed by Saudi Arabia, with USD 838 million, and Morocco, with USD 283.2 million. Fuels are the main product among imports with USD 1.77 billion in purchases in the period, followed by fertilizers, with USD 724.5 million, and plastics, with USD 55 million.

Brazil registered a surplus of USD 2.05 billion in the trade balance with Arab countries, a decline of 2.2% over January to May of 2016. Meanwhile, total trade reached USD 7.63 billion, with a 15.5% growth, with imports growing at a higher pace when compared to exports.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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