The Brazilian balance of trade reported a $5.178 billion surplus in September—the best result for a month of September since the beginning of this time series, in 1989. The data were released today (Oct. 2) by the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade, and Services.
From January to September this year, the balance showed an accumulated surplus of $53.283 billion. The number is also the highest in history. The government estimates the balance to close out 2017 with a surplus of more than $60 billion.
If confirmed, the value would be the highest for a year in the current time series, surpassing 2016's $47.5 billion.
The main reason behind the good performance is the growth in commodity prices. The amount exported of some products also saw an increase.
The balance of trade shows a surplus whenever exports (Brazil's sales to business partners overseas) exceed imports (goods and services purchased from other countries).
In September, Brazil's exports totaled $18.666 billion, compared to the $13.488 billion in imports. The exports surged 24% from September 2016, taking into account the value traded divided by the amount of business days. Compared to August this year, a reduction of 10.2% was observed, in the same system.
According to the same criterion, imports grew 18.1% from September last year and 11.8% from August this year.
The expansion seen in Brazil's imports of capital goods (machines and equipment used in industrial production) in the second consecutive month may have come as a result of a resurgence in economic activity, said Abrão Neto, foreign trade secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade, and Services.
Capital goods bought by Brazilian importers rose 34.5% from September last year. In August, a yearly hike had been reported at 6.6%. The climb was seen in a number of fields, like cargo vehicles, renewable energy, and the chemical and cellulose sectors.
“[The increase] may indicate a recovery trend for this line of imports, which is closely related to investments. We'll be able to confirm this trend in the upcoming months,” Neto pointed out.
The secretary went on to note that the import of intermediary goods, another category linked to the resumption in the economy. The hike was reported at 15.1% compared to September last year.
“The increase concentrates on the import of intermediary goods and supplies, especially in agriculture and livestock products, like fertilizers and herbicides, and also the industry in the chemical and electronics sectors,” Neto remarked.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira