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16/06/2010 - 12:30hs

Brazilian agribusiness sales to the Arabs grow 8%

Brazilian exports of agricultural and livestock products totalled US$ 610 million in May. The main markets were Egypt, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Morocco.

São Paulo – Brazilian agribusiness exports to the Arab countries totalled US$ 610 million in May, growth of 7.8% over the same month last year, according to figures disclosed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply. Sales to the Middle East and North Africa represent 8.5% of Brazilian sector sales abroad, which totalled US$ 7.2 billion in May.

According to the director of the International Promotion Department at the Ministry, Eduardo Sampaio Marques, agribusiness exports to the Arabs are maintaining a tendency of growth.

Among the Arab countries, Egypt was the main destination for Brazilian sales in the month, with US$ 122.62 million exported, followed by the United Arab Emirates, with US$ 102.9 million, Saudi Arabia, with US$ 100 million, Algeria, with US$ 62.5 million, and Morocco, with US$ 44.5 million.

“From May to July, the tendency is for exports to rise for the formation of stocks for Ramadan (the holy month for Muslims),” said the secretary general at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Michel Alaby. In this period, the Muslims fast during the day and feast at night.

Sugar and alcohol and meat sector products were the most exported. In terms of sugar, the Arabs imported the equivalent to US$ 263.2 million in May, growth of 43% over the same month last year. In meats, in turn, Brazil exported US$ 281.9 million, growth of almost 10% in the same comparison. Egypt was the main destination for exports of both products, having purchased US$ 56.57 million in sugar and US$ 54.72 million in meats.

Within the meat complex, raw chicken was the main product exported to the Arab market in the month, with revenues of US$ 175.8 million, growth of 13.5% over May 2009. Apart from meats and sugar, Brazil also shipped live animals, soy, coffee, wood, dairy products, fruit juice, tobacco and paper, among other items.

The most prominent products in exports to Egypt, according to Marques, are live animals. “Brazil opened the market for live cattle in Egypt this month. This is very good for Brazil,” said Marques. Sales of cattle to the country totalled US$ 4.7 million. According to the director, this shows confidence of the Egyptian market regarding Brazilian sanitary conditions. “Apart from that, exports of live cattle are another option for farmers who trade live animals,” he said.

Of the five main destinations for exports, the ones that registered the greatest growth in the month were Egypt, with growth of 80%, the United Arab Emirates, with 11.5%, and Algeria, with 8.5%. Among the less traditional markets, in turn, Syria was the one that grew most in the month (198%), followed by Somalia, with 132.8%, Tunisia, with 107%, Yemen, with 99.3%, and Mauritania, with 83.5%.

According to Alaby, the growth of 80% in sales to Egypt was motivated mainly by the return to sugar exports, which the Arab country did not import in the same month of last year. “Last year, the crisis was very strong and affected the price of sugar,” he said.

From January to May, agribusiness exports to the Arab countries generated US$ 2.67 billion, growth of 14.8% in comparison with the same period in 2009. The main destinations were Saudi Arabia, with US$ 661.5 million exported, Egypt, with US$ 349.2 million, the United Arab Emirates, with US$ 348.2 million, Morocco, with US$ 210.3 million, and Algeria, with US$ 200 million.

*Translated by Mark Ament

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