Brazil’s trade balance showed a deficit of US$ 592 million last week, as a result of US$ 2.42 billion in exports and US$ 3.012 billion in imports, according to figures disclosed Monday by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.
So far this month, the trade balance is running a deficit of US$ 967 million, with US$ 4.946 billion in exports and US$ 5.913 billion in imports. The daily average export figure dropped 6.2% compared with January of last year, and 24.8% compared with December.
Daily average imports, in turn, grew 20.4% compared with January 2009, and 5.9% in comparison with December.
Paraguay Dispute in Congress
One of the main disputes between Brazil and Paraguay could be resolved at the beginning of this year when the Brazilian Congress votes on a bill to revise what Brazil pays Paraguay for electricity from the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant. A bill now in congress will raise the payments from US$ 125 million to around US$ 300 million annually.
The bill will allow Paraguay to sell electricity in Brazil without going through the Brazilian state-run energy sector holding company, Eletrobrás, as well as commercialize electricity on other markets beginning in 2023.
The bill is a very important victory for the president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, who made a campaign promise to revise the payments. He has high hopes that approval of better payments for Itaipu electricity by Brazil will alleviate some of the domestic pressure he has been facing due to institutional conflicts, a sluggish economy and dropping approval ratings for his presidency.
Itaipu was the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant (until Three Gorges in China) and is on the Paraná River on the border between Brazil and Paraguay, which share the electricity in equal parts. But Paraguay only uses 10% of the energy generated, so it sells the rest to Brazil.
Vale and CNPq
The deadline for research proposals for the Mineral Sector Project – Brazil Technological Tendencies 2015, was Monday.
According to Vale, a total of 6.9 million reais is available for projects that set priority investment goals in the mineral sector as determined by the Center of Mineral Technology and the Brazil Geological Service. Results will be released on March 11.