Egypt leads Arab market for second month

29 de setembro de 2017

São Paulo – Exports from Brazil to Arab countries came out to USD 1.368 billion in August, up 13.68% year-on-year, according to data from the Brazilian Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services compiled by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. Egypt set itself apart for the second straight month with close to USD 400 million in imports, up 88.67% from August 2016.

The country ranked first again among Arab importers of goods from Brazil, ahead of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are often the two biggest buyers. “Egypt’s recovery is being driven by government purchases,” said Arab Chamber CEO Michel Alaby.

Egypt’s Ministry of Defense is importing large amounts of food products from Brazil, especially meats, both to feed its troops and to sell retail. The country went through a protracted liquidity crunch as a result of weak tourism revenue, the impact of stagnant global trade on Suez Canal revenue, the over-appreciation of the Egyptian pound, and investor wariness due to the country’s political scenario from 2011 onwards.

At the end of last year, however, the Central Bank unpegged its exchange rate, causing the pound to lose value, and the government secured a USD 12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 2017, foreign exchange reserves returned to pre-2011 levels, tourism and Suez Canal revenue got growing again and foreign investment returned.

Brazil’s exports to Egypt in August drove year-to-date results to bigger numbers than last year, with USD 1.347 billion in sales, up nearly 10% from January to August 2016.

Sales from Brazil to the UAE climbed 1.47% year-on-year in August to USD 241 million. Sales to Algeria were up 53.5% to USD 97 million. Exports also increased to Iraq, Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Tunisia, Djibouti, Syria and Palestine.

Sales of all top-selling items increased, including sugar, meats, cereals, ores, vehicles, coffee, machinery and equipment, cast iron, precious stones and metals and vegetable oils.

From January to August, exports to the Arab countries totaled USD 8.53 billion, an increase of 15% over the same period of last year. Sales increased to the largest markets, such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Oman, Morocco and Qatar. There was an increase in sales of the three top-selling products: sugar, meats and ore, and also of vehicles.

“The trend until the end of the year is towards stability,” said Alaby. “Our forecast since the beginning of the year was for 15% growth and it’s holding strong,” he added.


With imports, the total in August was worth USD 494 million, up 10.71% over the same month of last year, with the highlight being the increase in volume imported to Brazil from Algeria (45%) and Qatar (187%). Algeria was Brazil’s main supplier among the Arabs in August, with Qatar in the fourth position. In second and third positions, respectively, came Saudi Arabia and Morocco, also with an increase, however, more modest.

As for products, there was an increase of imports of oil, phosphate minerals, organic chemical products, plastics and fish.

From January to August, Brazil’s purchases from the Arab world totaled USD 4.4 billion, up 18% over the same period of 2016. Imports increased from Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt, some of Brazil’s main Arab suppliers. There was an increase in purchases of oil, fertilizers, phosphate minerals, Sulphur, plastic, inorganic chemical products, fish and aluminum.

Fertilizers are the second most imported item, after oil and its products, with imports increasing 42.4% year-to-date to USD 1.153 billion. “Since Brazil has two crops per year, fertilizers are consumed in large amounts,” explained Alaby.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum and Sérgio Kakitani