Brazil had a foreign trade surplus of US$ 89 million for the week between July 9 and 13, with exports of US$ 3.929 billion and imports of US$ 3.849 billion.
During the first week of July (2 to 6), there was a surplus of US$ 623 million, with exports of US$ 5.360 billion and imports of US$ 4.737 billion.
For the month of July (the first two weeks), Brazil is running a trade surplus of US$ 712 million, with exports of US$ 9.289 and imports of US$ 8.577 billion. However, the daily average value of exports, at US$ 785.8 million, is down 12.3%, compared to the same period in 2011.
Exports in July were down in all three main categories: so-called basic good exports were down 15.4% (this category includes raw material and commodities such as coffee grounds, iron ore, crude petroleum, chicken meat and raw cotton) ; semi-manufactured goods were down 5.2%; and manufactured goods down 10.5%.
July 2012 imports were also down 5.8%, compared to July 2011.
For the year, the cumulative total for exports is now US$ 126.503 billion and imports US$ 118.721 billion, with a surplus of US$ 7.782 billion, which is around 40% less than the surplus during the same period in 2011.
The Brazilian Congress is supposed to go into recess this week, but without an agreement on the Budgetary Guidelines Law (“Lei de Diretrizes Orçamentárias – LDO”), that will not be possible. Both the recess and the need to pass the LDO before the recess are in the constitution.
Opposition parties, led by the DEM, with support from the PDT, have been obstructing votes, demanding the liberation of congressional earmarks and late payments that have been pending since last year.
The final report of the LDO was presented by senator Antonio Carlos Valadares (PSB-Sergipe), but has to be approved by the Joint Budget Committee and, after that, in a floor vote.
Last week, leaders of the government and the opposition attempted to reach an agreement that would permit votes on the LDO and two temporary measures that are part of a stimulus package for the manufacturing sector.
Because of the impasse, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Marco Maia (PT-Rio Grande Do Sul), has convoked extraordinary sessions and promised that he will not accept absences without good excuses.
According to Maia, if the temporary measures are allowed to expire the industrial sector will have losses of 10 billion reais (the measures reduce taxes).
The opposition accuses the government of using earmarks as “election tools” and calls on the government to keep a promise they say was made to release 1 million reais in earmarks for projects in the area of health to each member of Congress, plus an additional 1.5 million reais for other projects, besides the outstanding commitments.
“We are not demanding anything or making any proposals. The government said they would do all this, and it is the government that has not kept its word,” declared the vice leader of the Dem, deputy Ronaldo Caiado.