Exports to Arabs declined in April

18 de maio de 2016

São Paulo – Brazil’s exports to the Arab countries declined in April of this year over the same period of last year. According to data from the Secretariat of Foreign Trade (Secex) compiled by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, 1.8 million tons were shipped in April, a drop of 45.8% in comparison to the same month of last year. In terms of value, shipments totaled USD 773.7 million, or 2.4% less in the same comparison.

Brazil’s main client, in terms of volume, among the Arabs was Egypt. The North African country imported 467,800 tons, 139% more than in April of 2015 due to iron ore.

 To Oman, the second largest importer in volume, the same product drove sales down. The mining company Vale has an iron ore pellet plant in Oman. With the Gulf country as destination, 411,700 tons were shipped, or 72.3% less than in April 2015.

Exports increased to Saudi Arabia and Algeria, with both tripling sugar purchases. The UAE reduced in 99% the purchases of aluminum oxides and hydroxides and ore. Bahrain and Qatar also didn’t buy any ore in April.

In terms of value, Brazil’s main client was Saudi Arabia, which imported USD 209 million, or 17% more than in April of last year due to higher spending with poultry and sugar. The UAE appears in second, with purchases that totaled USD 132.5 million, a decline of 14.8%. Egypt, Algeria and Oman appear next in the list.

In the comparison with March, April’s exports were weaker both in volume and value. In March, 3.3 million of tons were exported, with Oman being the main importer in volume. The Gulf country’s purchases of ore had a steeper decline in April than in March. Bahrain also imported ore in March, which didn’t happen in April. In term of values, exports to Arabs in March totaled USD 989.79 million, 21.8% more than in April.

The Arab Chamber’s CEO, Michel Alaby, pointed out that the Arab countries in the Gulf are suffering the impacts of the oil’s prices slump. “Due to this reality, they are investing heavily in food security, as they are doing in India, Indonesia and Pakistan, among Asia countries, and as they did in Brazil, with investments in Minerva”, he said.

In December of last year, Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co. (Salic), which is part of the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, bought 20% of the Brazilian meat processor company. In April, executives from Salic said that Saudi Arabia wants to guarantee the food security of its population.

Alaby also said that the trend is for Arab countries to import more foodstuffs this month, to stockpile for Ramadan. The Muslim’s sacred month starts in June. “Later, it’s possible that exports will drop slightly and then come back up. It’s possible that exports to Arabs improve slightly this year [overall]”, he said.

Year-to-date, exports from Brazil to the Arab countries reached 10.8 million tons, a decline of 20.08% in comparison to the period from January to April of last year. Egypt, Oman and Saudi Arabia are the main importers.

In terms of value, shipments to Arab countries totaled USD 3.45 billion, a decline of 3.6% over the first four months of 2015. Saudi Arabia imported USD 818.9 million this year, up 4.2%. Egypt and the UAE follow, filling the list of the three main importers.


On the other hand, Brazil imported more from the Arab countries in April both in value and volume. Overall, it was 1.4 million tons, or 42.7% more than in April of 2015. Last month, the main suppliers were Qatar – with gas as the main product exported –, Algeria, Kuwait and Iraq – with oil –, and Saudi Arabia, with fertilizers.

Brazil imported USD 497 million from the Arab countries in April, an increase of 4.8% over the same month of 2015. Algeria, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were the main exporters to Brazil in the period in terms of value.

Year-to-date, Brazil imported 5.08 million tons from the Arab countries, or 29.4% more in comparison to the period from January to April 2015. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait were the main suppliers in the period in terms of volume.

In terms of values, imports up to April totaled USD 1.7 billion, a decline of 13.4% in comparison to the same period of last year. Algeria led in sales to the country, with USD 497.8 million, followed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani