Brasília – Brazil saw its second-highest trade surplus for a November this year. The Brazilian Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services reported that exports outpaced imports by USD 4.062 billion last month. The highest-ever surplus was seen in November 2016, at USD 4.8 billion.
Exports amounted to nearly USD 21 billion last month, up 25.4% from November 2017 as per daily average numbers. Imports came close to USD 17 billion, up 28.3% on average per day.
Year-to-date through November, Brazil’s trade surplus slightly exceeded USD 51.5 billion, down 16.6% from a year ago. Despite the drop, this was the second-best number since record-keeping began in 1989. The best result for the period was recorded last year, at nearly USD 62 billion.
Through November, exports from Brazil fetched USD 220 billion, up 9.4% year-on-year. Imports reached USD 168 billion, up 21.3%. The fact that imports outgrew exports led to a narrower trade surplus this year. According to the Ministry, imports picked up due to a rebounding domestic economy.
According to the Ministry’s Foreign Trade secretary Abrão Neto, the fact that both imports and exports are going up shows that Brazil’s foreign trade scenario is improving. “In spite of a surplus that was relevant, albeit narrower than 2017’s, Brazil’s trade is performing better in quality and volume than it did last year. Total year-to-date export and import numbers have already exceeded whole-year 2017 figures,” he said in an interview with Agência Brasil. “Our trade is going stronger now, and this is leading to more jobs and income in Brazil this year.”
Year-to-date through November, exports climbed 5.5% in price and 3.5% in volume. According to Abrão Neto, the top-selling items so far this year were soy (pictured), earthmoving machinery, and manufactured iron and steel products. Despite the quotas put in place by the United States halfway through the year, hiking prices led to record sales.
Imports increased by 5.7% in price and by 15% in volume. The secretary, however, said some of that was due to the new oil and gas industry equipment import regime Repetro, which became effective this year. The country is gradually importing oil rigs that were previously registered overseas, thereby impacting balance of trade figures.
Last year saw a USD 67 billion trade surplus in Brazil, the best whole-year result on record. This year, the Ministry is expecting about USD 50 billion – the second-widest surplus ever.
The market seems more optimistic. The latest edition of the Brazilian Central Bank’s Focus Bulletin – a poll of Brazilian banks – shows a USD 58 billion surplus is expected this year. The Central Bank’s Inflation Report from late September forecasted a USD 55.3 billion surplus, with USD 231 billion in exports and USD 175.7 billion in imports.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum