Brazil’s imports grew faster than its exports in February. While exports, which totaled US$ 8.750 billion, were up 12.8% in comparison with February, 2005, imports, amounting to US$ 5.928 billion, rose 19%.
This situation reflects the depreciation of the US dollar in terms of the real, which has led Brazilian companies to purchase inputs, especially raw materials, abroad, according to Armando Meziat, secretary of Foreign Trade in Brazil’s Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade.
"The ministry is concerned about the exchange rate. Exports are still showing strong growth. The pace, however, is slower than for imports and in previous years," he remarked.
Despite this concern about the value of the dollar – which is worth slightly more than 2.10 reais – Meziat said that the Ministry expects an acceleration in import growth.
"This is good for the Brazilian economy," he said, mirroring comments made by his boss, Minister Luiz Fernando Furlan, to the effect that Brazil does not need large trade surpluses and that the increase in imports adds up to inputs used for local production.
Meziat also stated that foreign trade performance in the first two months of the year "is in line with the goal for 2006," which is to export US$ 123 billion.
Import growth in February was especially intense in capital goods, including industrial machinery. This signals that the domestic market is heating up.
The increase in relation to February, 2005, was 26.6%. The 26% increase in consumer goods, including such items as clothing, home appliances and housewares, furniture, beverages, and cigarettes, is, on the other hand, a reflection of the exchange rate, according to the secretary.
For the year, exports total US$ 18.021 billion, and imports, US$ 12.355 billion, yielding a trade surplus of US$ 5.666 billion.