Exports from Brazil should reach around US$ 170.7 billion in 2010, with growth of 12% over the US$ 152.4 billion forecasted for 2009, according to estimates disclosed by the Brazilian Foreign Trade Association (AEB).
On the other hand, imports should rise by around 24% due to exchange rates and to domestic growth, considering 5% expansion in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the sum of goods and services produced in the country.
This should result in a surplus of US$ 12.2 billion in the trade balance. The result should, however, represent a reduction of 48.9% over the US$ 23.9 billion trade balance result estimated for 2009.
The vice president at the AEB, José Augusto de Castro, said that, with the growth of 12% in exports and 24% in imports, “foreign trade in 2010 should offer a negative contribution for the growth of the GDP. That is, if it were not for foreign trade, the GDP could grow further.” The impact of the trade balance should be of minus 1.5 percentage point in GDP growth, he estimated.
Castro evaluated that, once again, Brazil should continue depending on commodities (agricultural and mineral products traded abroad), “because, with the current exchange rates, manufactured products are no longer competitive on the foreign market. They should struggle to remain at the same levels as those of 2009.”
According to the vice president at the AEB, Brazilian dependence on commodity prices is 70%. If they behave as is taking place now, the scenery will be one for a foreign trade surplus. If, on the other hand, prices drop, especially in the case of the soy and ore complexes, “we may have a surprise and a trade deficit. We depend greatly on commodity prices.”
According to him, there are doubts with regard to Brazilian foreign trade in 2010. One of them refers to soy, as in 2010 there should be three great crops, in Brazil, Argentina and the United States. “Up to now, prices are remaining at a similar average to that of 2009, which is good for Brazil.” Confirmation of the three super crops, however, may generate a negative result for the country.
The second doubt is with regard to steel. Castro pointed out that surplus production worldwide totals 500 million tons. “Up to now, there has been no impact on prices. But, in case that takes place, it should affect iron ore, pig iron, steel itself and semi-manufactured steel products, which play a significant part in the Brazilian trade balance.”