Wed, Jan 04, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Brazil sees trade surplus hit highest level in four years

AFP, Brasilia

Brazil’s trade surplus last year soared 47.8 percent compared with the previous year, to nearly US$30 billion, the highest since 2007, with record exports and imports, official data showed on Monday.

Last year, exports of goods rose 26.8 percent to US$256 billion, while imports went up by 25.7 percent to US$226 billion, the Brazilian Foreign Trade Ministry said.

“Brazil has never exported or imported so much. This is a sign of the dynamism of our foreign trade,” said Tatiana Prazeres, a spokesperson for the ministry.

The trade balance reached US$482.2 billion, 25.7 percent more than between January and December 2010.

“This gives us a surplus of US$29.7 billion, the highest since 2007,” when it totaled US$40 billion, Brazilian Foreign Trade Ministry Executive Secretary Alessando Teixeira said.

Brazil, which last month supplanted the UK as the world’s sixth-largest economy, had its best year in exports largely because of high prices and strong demand for its key commodities such as soybeans and iron ore.

China was the main destination for Brazilian exports, followed by the US and Argentina, officials said.

Imports also rose significantly although at a slightly lower pace in percentage terms than exports.

Brazilian imports increased in all areas, from raw material and fuel to consumers goods and capital, with the US, China, Argentina and Germany as main suppliers.

Though the government hopes to post a positive trade balance this year, it has not set any target because of the global uncertainty.

Authorities pointed to the government’s export incentives and the rise of the US dollar in relation to the real, the national currency which had appreciated in recent years, affecting the competitiveness of exports.

However, Teixeira also underscored “negative factors” which could hurt trade such stagnation in the eurozone, slow growth in the US and the lower performance of the Chinese economy.

“We also expect higher international competition for Brazilian products and a resumption of the ‘currency war,’ referring to possible currency manipulations by developed countries,” he added.

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