Despite the strong appreciation of the Brazilian real against the United States dollar, which makes Brazilian products more expensive on the foreign market, the minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, believes that the Brazilian export growth in 2005 will be at least double the world average.
“The target we have determined for this year puts the growth very close to double the world average,” stated Furlan of Friday, July 1st, in São Paulo, Brazil.
The Brazilian government forecast is that exports reach US$ 112 billion in the year, which, if confirmed, will represent a 16% increase when compared to last year, which was US$ 96.4 billion.
“International institutions, like the Unctad, forecast that the export growth should be below 10%”, stated Furlan. He believes that, in the medium term, the country share in foreign trade may reach 1.2%. Today it is at around 1.1%.
Brazilian trade has been growing over the world average for some time. This has been taking place for at least two years and, during the first half of this year, the performance has been repeated.
According to figures supplied by the World Trade Organization (WTO) published by newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, world exports rose 14% in the period between January and April, whereas the value of Brazilian shipping rose 25.7% in the same period.
“Only two countries presented greater growth than Brazil: Russia and China. And I believe that in 2005 there will be little change in this picture,” stated the Foreign Trade secretary, Ivan Ramalho.
The Brazilian government’s trust was strengthened by the trade balance in June. In the month, the shipping generated US$ 10.2 billion, an increase of 9.4% in comparison to the same month last year. For the first time in history, monthly export exceeded US$ 10 billion.
“The foreign trade figures continue very dynamic, despite exchange rates. I believe that, in the second half, the monthly average will be US$ 10 billion,” declared the minister.
The real was the currency that had the greatest appreciation against the dollar in recent months, accumulating a high of 12% in the year. On Friday, one United States dollar was sold for 2.357 Brazilian reais.
Import in the month total led US$ 6.176 billion, with growth of 11.7% over June last year. The surplus favorable to Brazil was US$ 4.031 billion in the month, also a historic record.
In the accumulated result for the first half, exports generated US$ 53.6 billion, a growth of 23.9% in comparison to the same period in 2004. Foreign purchases, in turn, total led US$ 34 billion, with growth of 20.2% in relation to the first half of last year.
With the appreciation of the Brazilian real, Furlan believes that in the second half of this year imports should grow at a greater rate than exports, which should grow, according to him, on average 10% a month.
But this, in his evaluation, is not going to stop the country from once again presenting a considerable trade balance surplus, around US$ 35 billion.
“Today many sectors are prepared to export, having invested heavily and the export culture has been created. This will make exports continue to grow,” declared the Minister.
Anyway, the dollar exchange rates are worrying, as they are affecting the exports of sectors like shoes and apparel, which are great job generators.
Although the government discards any kind of intervention in exchange rates, Furlan stated that measures must be taken so as to simplify and reduce onuses on exports.
With regard to products, in June there was 14.1% growth in the sale of manufactured products, to US$ 5.5 billion, and 14.2% in sales of semi-manufactured products, to US$ 1.451 billion.
Exports of basic products fell 13.3%. According to the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, this reduction was generated by a smaller volume of shipments of oil, soy in grain and soy chaff.
In the case of soy, the problem was made worse by the crop that took place in the south of the country, due to the drought, and to the reduction in the price of the commodity on the foreign market.
With regard to the destinations, new markets continue playing an important part. In the month of June, the shipping to Eastern Europe grew 91.3% and to Africa, 26%. In the result accumulated for the year, sales to Africa rose 43.7% and to the Middle East, 5.6%.
To the 22 Arab countries, Furlan stated that the perspectives are still positive. “Our position is one of optimism. The sales of most products to the Arab countries are going to continue growing,” he said.
Last year, exports to the Arab countries total led over US$ 4 billion. The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB) estimates that the growth of stales this year should be at least 13%.
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