Brazilian agribusiness exports totaled US$ 58.4 billion in 2007, an increase of 18.2% compared with the previous year. Imports by the sector stood at US$ 8.7 billion, an expansion of 12%, resulting in a surplus of US$ 49.7 billion, the highest ever recorded, according to data disclosed January 15 by Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.
According to the Ministry, some of the factors that drove the performance were the growth of global economy in the last five years, which led to a greater international demand for foodstuffs, and the rising price of several commodities. The Ministry also informs that the use of agricultural products for biofuel production has also contributed for the increase in prices.
Foreign sales of soy, the main item in the export basket, totaled US$ 11.38 billion. At a close second came meats, with exports of US$ 11.29 billion, an increase of 30.7% compared with 2006.
The growth, according to the Ministry, was influenced by strong demand from Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The greater demand led the amount of meats shipped to increase 15.5% and prices to grow 6%, in the case of bovine meat, 24% for raw chicken meat, and 2.9% for pork meat.
The ministry highlights the recovery of chicken meat sales, after a period of depressed market conditions due to fear of avian flu. Chicken meat exports totaled US$ 4.2 billion last year, 44.3% more than in 2006.
Another highlight, according to the Ministry, was corn. Brazil shipped 10.9 million tons of the product, an expansion of 178% compared with 2006. The average price of corn also grew, from US$ 117 to US$ 172 per ton.
One of the most traditional segments in Brazilian agribusiness, however, saw a decrease in product prices. The increased international market supply, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, led sugar and alcohol prices to decrease from US$ 327 to US$ 263 and from US$ 587 to US$ 523 per ton, respectively.
The leading destination for agribusiness exports was the European Union, to which sales totaled US$ 20.8 billion, a 31.1% rise. Next come the Asian countries, with US$ 11.2 billion in imports; North America, with US$ 7.3 billion; the Middle East, with US$ 4.7 billion; Africa, with US$ 3.8 billion; Latin American nations outside of the Mercosur, with US$ 2.6 billion; and the Mercosur member nations, with US$ 1.7 billion.
The leading buyer countries, still according to the Ministry, were the United States, with US$ 6.4 billion in imports; Holland, with US$ 5.4 billion; China, with US$ 4.6 billion; and Russia, with US$ 3.3 billion.
The sales volume and revenues from retail in Brazil grew 1.6% in November compared with the previous month, as disclosed January 16 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). The Monthly Trade Survey points to a recovery from the negative results posted in October (-0.1% for both sales volume and nominal revenues).
In November, sales volume had its second highest rate in the year. In comparison with the same month last year, it grew 9.9%, accumulating 9.7% during the year and 9.2% in the 12-month period ending in November (annualization). For nominal revenues, the rates were 13.3%, 11.6% and 10.9%, respectively.
Of the five activities surveyed, four recorded growth in sales volume between October and November: fuels and lubricants (1.5%); furniture and household appliances (1.4%); textiles, clothing and shoes (1.6%); and hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco (0.8%). There was a decrease in sales of vehicles and motorcycles, parts and components (-0.9%).