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02/01/2018 - 18:12hs

Brazil runs record trade surplus

Foreign sales exceeded imports by USD 67 billion in 2017, up 40.5% from the previous all-time high, which had come in 2016.

São Paulo – Brazil posted a USD 67 billion trade surplus last year, the Brazilian Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services reported this Tuesday (2). The record-high surplus is in line with the Ministry’s forecasts of a number in the USD 65 billion-USD 70 billion range. December saw a USD 4.998 billion surplus.

Last year’s surplus exceeded that of 2016 by 40.5%. the Ministry’s Foreign Trade secretary Abrão Neto stressed that whereas imports increased at a faster rate than exports in 2016, 2017 saw foreign sales climb faster.

Foreign sales from Brazil came out to USD 217.746 billion last year, up 18.5% year-on-year based on average daily numbers. The strongest result ever came in 2011, with exports fetching USD 256 billion.

Imports also increased in 2016, by 10.5% based on average daily figures, to a total of USD 150.745 billion.

“This pickup in imports indicates that Brazil’s economy is rebounding,” said the secretary, noting that imports increased the most for inputs and intermediate goods, which are relied on by industry and the agribusiness sector.

Abrão Neto said 2018 could see international trade increase further for Brazil, with imports picking up further. “But we still expect a robust surplus at around USD 50 billion, which will be our second biggest ever,” he pondered.


Exports increased across the board with basic goods going up 28.7%, driven by crude oil, iron ore and soybeans. Semi-finished goods going up 13.3% on the back of semi-finished iron and steel products, cast iron and timber; and finished goods going up 9.4%, driven by fuel oils, earthmoving machinery and tractors.

Brazil’s exports to the Middle East were up 16%, driven by raw sugar, iron ore, beef, chassis and motors, hunting and sports ammunition, aircraft motors and turbines, automobiles, refined sugar, coffee beans, flat-rolled iron and steel products, poultry, livestock, precious/semi-precious stones and aircraft.

Conversely, imports to Brazil were up 42.8% for fuel and lubricants, 11.2% for intermediate goods, and 7.9% for consumer goods. Capital goods imports dropped by 11.4%.

Brazil’s imports from Middle East countries climbed 12%, driven by crude oil, urea, potassium chloride, fertilizers, plastic polymers, aluminum alloys, non-fabrics, raw aluminum, plastic sheets, and aircraft parts.

*With information from Agência Brasil. Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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