Brazilian exports to the 22 countries in the League of Arab States grew 8% in the first quarter of this year. They rose from US$ 892 million in the first three months of 2004 to US$ 965 million in the same period this year.
In the accumulated result for the last twelve months, however, the increase was 24.8%. Brazil had revenues of US$ 4 billion with sales to the Arab nations between April 2004 and March 2005, against US$ 3.2 billion in the previous twelve months.
“This percentage is within expectations,” stated the secretary general of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), Michel Alaby, referring to the results for the quarter.
Exports rose between January and March, but at a lower rate than that registered in the first two months of the year, when sales from Brazil to the Arabs rose 16%. The secretary general stated that the lower percentage is due to the high volatility of the Brazilian currency.
“The figures for January and February still reflected contracts from last year, March already reflects the new contracts,” stated the secretary general of the CCAB. The United States dollar has been depreciating against the Brazilian real since the beginning of the year.
The countries that increased their imports from Brazil in the quarter, in percentage terms and in order, were Somalia (226%), Yemen (79.7%), Sudan (52.4%), Libya (49.7%) and Algeria (49%).
Other Arab nations also bought more from Brazil: Lebanon (46.7%), Jordan (32.9%), Saudi Arabia (31%), Kuwait (10.6%), Morocco (5.2%) and Oman (0.2%).
On the other hand, Djibouti, Egypt, Bahrain, the Comoros, Iraq, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritania, Tunisia and Syria reduced their imports.
Among the list of greatest buyers of Brazilian products in the period, in terms of revenues, were Saudi Arabia, with US$ 210 million, Egypt, with US$ 154 million, the United Arab Emirates, with US$ 121 million, Morocco, with US$ 100.9 million, and Algeria, with US$ 94.4 million.
Bilateral trade between the Arabs and Brazil reached US$ 1.8 billion in the first three months of the year and already represent 22% of the total for last year, which was US$ 8 billion. If exports in the month of March of both years alone are compared, however, there was a 4.2% drop.
Brazilian imports of Arab products rose 1%. They were at US$ 871.5 million between January and March 2004 and rose to US$ 877.5 million in the same months this year.
The secretary general of the CCAB believes that this percentage is due, among other factors, to the increase in oil prices, which may have inhibited purchases of the commodity.
Oil and naphtha for the petrochemical industry are the main products imported by Brazil from the Arab countries.
The country also buys other products with sales that depend on peak demand periods. That is the case with fertilizers, normally purchased at the time of sowing crops. Brazil is currently harvesting the main agricultural products, such as soy and maize.
Translated by Mark Ament
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency