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Construction Material Industry Gives Brazil a Boost

Building in construction in Brazil The level of employment in the construction material industry increased by 4.4% in the first half of the year, according to the Sector Analysis of the Brazilian Association of the Construction Material Industry (Abramat) and of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).

In June, according to data from the survey, the number of registered employees was 625,000, the highest in the calculated series since January 2004.

Of the 18,700 job positions created since December, the major contributing segments were those of metallic structure manufacturing (5,100), manufacturing of cement and fibrocement artefacts (2,600) and extraction of stones, sand and clay (1,500).

The majority of job positions were created in the southeastern and southern regions of the country. Highlights were the states of São Paulo (Southeast), with 5,400 new job positions; Minas Gerais (Southeast), with 4,000, and Paraná (South), with 1,900.

Indicators show that cement consumption recorded a 6.75% increase in the first half of the year, compared with the same period of 2006. The 8.7% growth rate for cement consumption recorded in the last two months alone, is higher than that of the first half of the year as a whole, which, according to the FGV, points to a trend of growth throughout the year. Domestic sales of steel beams recorded a 9.3% increase during the first half, and production rose by 9.1%.

According to calculations by the FGV and the Abramat, nominal revenues for the sector during the first six months of 2007 have risen by 10.3%. Domestic sales grew by 7.1%, and retail trade sales rose by 5.7%. Based on those data, the sector is forecasted to grow from 7.9% to 9.3% this year.

In the assessment of the Professor of Economics at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), Fernando Garcia, who is in charge of the survey, the expressive figures recorded in the first half of the year are a result of the expansion in real estate credit.

In the first half, credit for habitation stood close to 7 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 3.37 billion), an increase of 67% in comparison with the same period of last year.

Trade Balance Surplus

Brazil exported US$ 3.257 billion and imported US$ 2.584 billion last week, a US$ 673 million surplus that drove the accumulated result for the month's 13 business days up to US$ 1.663 billion.

The figures were taken from the bulletin disclosed this morning (August 20) by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, containing overall balance of trade figures for last week.

In the year, exports already total US$ 95.720 billion, an increase of 15% in comparison with the same period of last year. Imports grew more (27.5%), to reach US$ 70.072 billion. The trade balance surplus for 2007 stands at US$ 25.648 billion, a decrease of 9.4% compared with the same period of last year.

ABr

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