2008 was excellent for Brazil in foreign trade of agribusiness products. Sector exports reached the historic total of US$ 71.9 billion, US$ 13.4 billion more than in 2007, and representing growth of 23%. The trade balance surplus was also a record-high, having reached the figure ofÂ US$ 60 billion. Sector participation in total Brazilian exports was 36.3%.
According to information disclosed by Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, the good export performance in 2008 resulted from growth in revenues from sales of the main items in the agribusiness trade basket.
The soy complex (oil, chaff and grain) posted growth of 58%, the meats sector, 29%, coffee, 22%, tobacco and its products, 22%, sugar and alcohol complex, 18%, and forestry products, 6%.
The soy complex remains in the leadership with sales ofÂ US$ 18 billion. Meats remained the second in the list, with sales ofÂ US$ 14.5 billion. In 2007, total sales by those sectors (soy and meats) had already exceededÂ US$ 10 billion. Last year, exports totaled nearlyÂ US$ 20 billion.
The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply highlighted the 80% increase in the value of exports of dairy products, which leapt fromÂ US$ 299 million, in 2007, toÂ US$ 541 million last year. Brazilian foreign sales benefited from rising international market prices. Furthermore, many products recorded growth in shipped volumes compared with 2007, such as, for instance, alcohol (45%) and dairy products (43%).
According to the ministry, other items that had expressive growth were honey, due to the resumption of sales to the European Union (EU), livestock and animal feed. Products of vegetable origin answered to 72.8% of the agribusiness trade basket, practically the same rate as in 2007, when they answered to 72.3% of exports.
Foreign sales had positive growth rates to all of the economic blocs that are export destinations, with the exception of the Nafta. To the EU, exports grew 13.8%, Mercosur, 21%, the Middle East, 8,5%, Eastern Europe, 28% and Africa, 27%.
The highest growth rates were recorded with the countries of the Latin-American Integration Association (Aladi), 63%, and Asia, 49%. The EU maintained the highest share, having purchased 33% of national agribusiness products, followed by Asia, 23.5% and the Nafta, 10%.
Due to the strong rise in exports to China (70%), that country rose to the first position in the ranking of buyer markets for Brazilian agribusiness products, having answered to 11% of exports, which are still very much centered around soy, at approximately 77.6%.
Second in the ranking are the Netherlands, with a 9% share, and the United States rank third, with 8.7%. Within only one year, China went from the third to the first position. It is worth noting, as well, the strong growth (112%) in exports to Venezuela, which rose from the 15th position in the ranking, in 2007, to the 9th position last year.
On the other hand, Brazil imported 35.6% more agribusiness products in 2008, in comparison with the previous year, having totaledÂ US$ 11.8 billion. This is the first time that imports of agricultural products rise aboveÂ US$ 10 billion.
The product with the highest import value was wheat, withÂ US$ 1.9 billion, a figure 34.6% higher than recorded in 2007. The result was a consequence of the high pricing (48%) of wheat in the international market, even though the shipped volume was 9% lower. The volumes of imports or rice (38%) and corn (30%) were also lower.
Trade Balance Deficit
Brazilian exports in the first six business days this year totaledÂ US$ 2.958 billion and imports,Â US$ 2.970 billion, resulting in a deficit ofÂ US$ 12 million. The figures were disclosed Monday, January 12, by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.
This year, there has been a reduction of 18.3% in average daily exports in comparison with the first days of January 2008. In the first business day of the year, Friday, January 2, however, exports totaledÂ US$ 403 million and imports,Â US$ 273 million. Last week, from January 5 to 11, exports totaledÂ US$ 2.555 billion and imports,Â US$ 2.697 billion.