Trade surplus a record for September

02 de outubro de 2017

São Paulo – Brazil had another trade surplus in September, this time at USD 5.178 billion, the widest on record for the month. It came as the eighth straight monthly record this year, said Abrão Neto, the Foreign Trade secretary with the Brazilian Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services.

The surplus was the result of USD 18.666 billion worth of exports and USD 13.488 billion in imports. Year-to-date through September, the country saw a USD 53.283 billion surplus, another all-time high, with foreign sales reaching USD 164.608 billion and foreign purchases amounting to USD 111.325 billion.

The trade surplus in the eight months through September was wider than the USD 47.5 billion surplus seen in the whole of 2016. Abrão Neto said the Ministry’s projection of a USD 60 billion surplus by the end of this year are being revised: “We are updating our estimate and we should have a new projection out soon,” he told Agência Brasil.

The good results this year are mostly the result of rising commodity prices (internationally traded food staples, raw materials and fuels). The exported amounts of some goods also increased.

Last month, total exports from Brazil were up 24% compared with September 2016 and 10% compared with August 2017, as per average daily figures. According to the Ministry, foreign sales in September were up 36.7% year-on-year for basic goods, 11.1% for semi-finished goods and 18% for finished goods.

Top-selling basic goods included soybeans, maize, raw cotton, copper ore, beef, tobacco leaves, iron ore, crude oil, soya bran and poultry. Semi-finished goods exports soared for copper cathodes, timber, wood chips, ferroalloys, cast iron, timber, wood pulp, raw sugar, and hides. Best-performing finished goods were taps/valves, earthmoving machinery, tractors, aluminum oxides/hydroxides, automobiles, electric motors and generators, auto parts, vehicle motors and parts, non-frozen orange juice, footwear, refined sugar, cargo vehicles, and plastic polymers.

September import numbers exceeded those of September 2016 by 18.1%, and those of August 2017 by 11.8%, also as per daily average numbers. The Ministry said imports went up 34.5% year-on-year in September for capital goods, 26.4% for fuels and lubricants, 15.9% for consumer goods and 15.1% for intermediate goods.

To Abrão Neto, the hike in capital goods imports could mean the economy is picking up steam. “[This increase] may show a trend of recovery in these types of imports, which are closely tied with investment. We’ll confirm that trend in the next few months,” the Foreign Trade secretary said.

He also noted the result for intermediate goods: “This hike was mostly driven by imports of intermediate goods and of inputs, especially for agriculture, such as fertilizers and herbicides, as well as for the chemicals and customer electronics industries,” Abrão Neto said.

Middle East

Exports to the Middle East climbed 26% year-on-year in September to USD 1.123 billion. The Brazilian Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services reported that countries in the region stepped up their imports of raw sugar, beef, iron ore, aluminum oxides and hydroxides, petroleum coke, chassis and motors, precious/semiprecious stones, fuel oils and semi-finished gold.

Middle East countries imported a combined USD 266 million worth of goods from Brazil, down 10.5% from September 2016, resulting on a USD 857 million surplus for Brazil during the month.

Year-to-date, Brazil has seen a USD 5.922 billion surplus in trade with Middle East countries, with exports reaching USD 8.739 billion – up 16.5% year-on-year – and imports coming out to USD 2.817 billion, up 4.8%.

*With information from Agência Brasil. Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum