Brazilian exports to the Arab countries generated over US$ 1.5 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 19.3% in comparison to the same period last year. The figures were supplied by Brazil's Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.
The performance remains above the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce estimates for growth this year, 15%.
"Exports to the Arab countries have been growing over the national average, which shows that we are still expanding on the market in the region, a constant factor in recent years," stated Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce president Antonio Sarkis Jr.
From January to March, total exports of Brazil grew 15.2% when compared to the same three months in 2006.
The main destinations in the Arab world were Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia. The markets that grew most, however, were Mauritania, to where shipments rose over 11 times and reached US$ 31 million, Jordan (251%, to US$ 68.5 million), Syria (151%, US$ 62.3 million), Tunisia (122%, US$ 56.3 million), Qatar (106%, US$ 40 million), Iraq (95.5%, US$ 36.8 million), Libya (71%, US$ 66 million), Algeria (58%, US$ 72.6 million), Kuwait (57%, US$ 45.3 million) and Lebanon (47%, US$ 64.3 million).
Sarkis observed that sales to the region posted a "surprising" performance despite the depreciation of the dollar as against the Brazilian real, which supposedly makes Brazilian products more expensive on the foreign market. The real/dollar exchange rate at the moment is 2.02 reais per dollar, the lowest value since March 2001.
In the month of March alone, shipments to the Arabs generated US$ 596.9 million, an increase of 24.4% in comparison to the same month last year. The main destinations in March were Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Libya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria and Kuwait.
Imports, in turn, reached US$ 1.234 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 0.47% in comparison with the same period last year. The main Brazilian suppliers were Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Oman and Syria. In March alone, Brazilian purchases totaled US$ 420.1 million.
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