Brazil’s current account (the total of the trade balance, international travel, interest payments, and profit remittances) registered a US$ 1.761 billion surplus in August, compared with a US$ 1.212 billion surplus in August, 2003.
It was the fourth consecutive positive month. The cumulative surplus between January and August measured US$ 7.990 billion, nearly double the US$ 4.016 billion surplus for all of 2003.
These figures were announced yesterday by the Central Bank’s (BC) Director of Economic Policy, Eduardo Loyo, during a presentation of the monthly “External Sector” report.
He said that the numbers reflect the country’s “strong export capacity” and the “already quite vigorous” economic recovery. As an example of this, he cited last month’s US$ 3.4 billion trade surplus.
The Director pointed out, however, that there is no plan to keep the balance of payments surplus this high, even though the positive results put the country in a “comfortable position” in macroeconomic terms.
In his view, the surplus should end the year at around US$ 6.7 billion, falling next year to around US$ 100 million, in consequence of the anticipated increase in imports.
The BC estimates that exports will amount to US$ 94.5 billion in 2005, up 5% from this year’s level. Imports are expected to grow 16.7%, from US$ 60 billion in 2004 to US$ 70 billion in 2005.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Brazilian agribusiness will grow approximately 2.8% this year.
Less, therefore, than the economy as a whole, which financial markets expect to grow 3.8%, and less than the sector’s 6.2% growth in 2003.
This information comes from the head of the Foreign Trade Department of the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture (CNA), Antônio Donizeti Beraldo.
According to Beraldo, the “slower pace” of agribusiness in 2004 is the consequence of crop losses, due mainly to climatic factors, and problems with soybean sales abroad.
Nevertheless, the head of the CNA’s Economic Department, Getúlio Pernambuco, predicts that this year’s agribusiness surplus will amount to US$ 30 billion.
He bases this projection on the cumulative surplus of US$ 19.44 billion for the period between January and July, 44% more than the US$ 13.49 billion registered over the same period last year.
Once again the outstanding export performers are soybeans and meat. While sales for the soybean complex have already reached US$ 6.5 billion this year, exports of beef, pork, and chicken totaled US$ 3.3 billion.
Beraldo pointed out, however, that other segments, such as cotton and wheat, are gaining space in the agricultural sales portfolio.
According to him, sugar and alcohol exports also rose, totaling US$ 1.6 billion through July, 60% more than last year during the same period.
Reporter: Stenio Ribeiro
Translator: David Silberstein