Brazil’s balance of trade closed out 2018 at $58.3 billion, the second best performance since 1989. The number takes into account the gap between exports ($239.5 billion) and imports ($181.2 billion).
Last year, both exports and imports increased, adding up to $420.7 billion, up $52 billion from 2017—the highest value in five years, as per official figures.
Exports of basic goods went up 17.2 percent and manufactured products rose 7.4 percent. Semi-manufactured goods saw a 3.1 percent drop year-on-year. Brazilian imports also experienced an increase, with fuels, supplies, and capital goods at the top.
Markets and goods
A surge in exports was reported in the main markets where Brazil is an active player: China, the EU, and the US. Transactions with the Chinese added up to $66.6 billion (up 32.2 percent from 2017). With the Europeans, exports totaled $42.1 billion (up 20.1 percent). Sales in the US amounted to $28.8 billion (up 6.6 percent).
The main goods exported to China were mineral commodities (crude oil, iron ore, iron alloys) and agricultural goods (soybeans, cotton, cellulose, beef, and chicken). As for the European Union, the main items sold were soybeans, iron ore, cellulose, coffee, crude oil, and copper ore.
In the US, semi-manufactured steel saw an increase, along with crude oil, aircraft engine parts, machines, and earthworks devices. Six of every ten products exported to Americans are manufactured goods. “The US market becomes consolidated as the main destination of products manufactured in Brazil,” the Economy Ministry reported.
In Latin America, Argentina is still Brazil’s main commercial partner. However exports to the country slipped 15.5 percent in 2018 due to the reduction in auto goods. Imports from Argentina, in turn, went up 16.7 percent to $11.1 billion.