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09/01/2018 - 18:38hs

Brazilian footwear sales to Arab countries drop

The UAE, which is the primary Arab buyer of shoes from Brazil, stripped down its imports by 19% to USD 13.4 million last year.

São Paulo – Brazilian footwear exports to the United Arab Emirates slid by 19.5% to USD 13.4 million in 2017 from 2016. The UAE is the 16th biggest buyer of shoes from Brazil. The numbers were made public this Tuesday (9) by the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados). Arab countries took in 4.45% of exports from Brazil, down 1.15% from 2016.

Press Release

Klein: oil price slump took away from sales to Arab countries

Abicalçados chairman Heitor Klein said “the oil price slump (which began in 2014) strongly impacted Arab countries’ foreign exchange reserves. This led to a decrease in those countries’ imports.”

The Arab countries that imported the least footwear from Brazil were Saudi Arabia and Lebanon; their imports dropped by 49.7% and 7.7%, respectively. According to Klein, although Saudi Arabia is a major shoe buying country, it was never a key market for Brazil – unlike the UAE, which buys both for domestic consumption and to reexport to nearby markets, Saudi Arabia included.

Overall, exports to Arab countries were down 19.3% in volume and 19.9% in US dollars compared with 2016. On a positive note, 2017 saw stronger imports by minor buying markets such as Bahrain, Algeria, Oman, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Qatar. Syria’s imports were up 1,905% from USD 20,000 to USD 407,000. Oman’s were up 175%, and Egypt’s climbed 116%.

Exports from Brazil to the world were up 9.3% to USD 1.09 billion in 2017. Export volume climbed 1.2%, which goes to show that Brazilian product prices went up as the dollar lost strength throughout last year.

According to Klein, “in 2017, Brazilian footwear companies undertook a major effort, tailoring their approaches and adapting their products to international markets, as well as investing in commercial promotion and image.” “The result was that despite the higher prices stemming from the depreciation of the US dollar and all of the structural problems inherent to manufacturing in Brazil, we achieved an interesting result, the best since 2013,” he said.

Revenue also went down from sales to the United States (14.42%), which remained Brazil’s biggest buyer nonetheless; to Colombia (-9.1%), ranked 7th; the United Kingdom (-19.8%), in the 11th position; Israel (-12.2%), in 14th; and Cuba (-5.5%), the 18th biggest buyer of footwear from Brazil.

Exports increased the most to Ecuador, by 102%, and China, by 100%. These two were the 10th and 20th biggest importers of footwear from Brazil last year.

We started the year with prices averaging at USD 7 and ended it close to USD 9,” Abicalçados’ chairman said. He said results could have been better if it weren’t for exchange rate fluctuations. “We had an exchange rate of nearly BRL 3.40 during the year, which then eased back to BRL 3.20. This obviously was reflected in the prices of our shoes, which became costlier to foreign buyers,” he remarked.

United States, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and France remained the biggest markets for Brazilian footwear.

Shoe imports to Brazil widened by 4.6% in volume and narrowed by 1.1% in revenue, to USD 340 million. The primary suppliers were Vietnam, Indonesia and China.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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