Brazil's trade balance surplus – the difference between exports and imports – reached US$ 882 million in February, less than one third of the trade balance surplus in the same period last year (US$ 2.899 billion). The figures were disclosed this Monday, March 3, by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.
The reduction in the trade balance surplus is explained by the greater growth of imports than of exports. In the last month, with 19 working days, exports totaled US$ 12.8 billion, whereas in the same period last year the total was US$ 10.129 billion. In the case of imports, the total was US$ 11.918 billion, against US$ 7.230 billion in February 2007.
In the fifth week of February 2008, exports totaled US$ 2.981 billion and imports, US$ 3.075 billion, a trade balance deficit of US$ 94 million.
In the 41 working days of this year, the trade balance surplus has reached US$ 1.826 billion, with a daily average of US$ 44.5 million. In the year, exports have reached US$ 126.077 billion and imports, US$ 24.251 billion. In 2007, the trade balance surplus in the same period was US$ 5.415 billion, with exports of US$ 21.113 billion and imports of US$ 15.698 billion.
Brazilian exports generated US$ 160.65 billion in 2007, exceeding the government forecasts of US$ 155 billion in foreign sales for the year. There was a 16.6% increase in comparison with the value for 2006. Imports, in turn, grew 32%, almost double, and reached US$ 120.61 billion.
With greater expansion of foreign purchases, the Brazilian trade surplus dropped almost 14% in comparison with the total for 2006, to US$ 40.04 billion. Bilateral trade, which is the total of exports plus imports, totaled US$ 281.23 billion in 2007, or 22.7% more than in the previous year. All the figures, except for the trade balance surplus, were record, according to the ministry.
Manufactured products answered to foreign sales of US$ 84 billion, basic products for US$ 51.6 billion and semi-manufactured products for US$ 21.8 billion, and the shipments of all categories grew: 27.6% for basic, 11.4% for manufactured and 11.2% for semi-manufactured products.
Among manufactured products there were more expressive increases in the exports of gasoline (52.7%), frozen orange juice (47.3%), aircraft (45%), engines and generators (28%), pumps and compressors (14.5%), plastic polymers (12.2%), cargo vehicles (9.5%) and car parts (7.5%).
In the case of basic products the largest increases were in corn grains (317.2%), chicken meat (43.7%), tobacco leaves (28.9%), crude oil (28.7%), soy chaff (21.8%), soy grain (18%), iron ore (17.5%), pork (17%) and coffee grain (14.9%). Among semi-manufactured products the highlights were for iron alloys (74.7% growth), pulp (21%), leather and hides (16.3%) and cast iron (13.6%).
With regard to destinations, according to the Ministry of Development, there has been an increase in exports to the main economic regions, mainly to the European Union, which posted growth of 29.7%, followed by the other countries in the Mercosur (which includes Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as Brazil – 23.6%), Asia (19.4%), Africa (14.6%), the Middle East (10.9%), Eastern Europe (10.3%), the countries in the Latin-American Integration Association (Aladi) except for the ones in the Mercosur (8.5%) and the United States (1.8%).
In the area of imports there has also been growth in all categories of products, with consumer goods in the first place, with growth of 33.2%, followed by capital goods (32.4%), fuels and lubricants (31.6%) and intermediary and raw materials (30.7%).
There has been expansion in the purchases of products from the main regions, like the European Union, which expanded sales to Brazil by 92.1%, Africa (39.1%), Asia (33.3%), the EU (31.8%), the Mercosur (29.2%), the United States (27%), Aladi excluding Mercosur (21.7%) and the Middle East (0.9%).