Brazil’s balance of trade sees highest-ever monthly surplus

Exports outweighed imports by $11.38 bi in May

Published on 02/06/2023 - 15:06 By Wellton Máximo - Brasília

Propelled by the soybean harvest and by oil and iron ore exports, Brazil’s trade balance in May recorded the largest surplus for any month since the beginning of this time series, in 1989. According to the Ministry of Development, Industry, Trade, and Services, the country exported $11.378 billion more than it imported in May—more than twice as much as the positive balance in May last year ($4.958 bi).

Last month, exports totaled $33.067 billion, also the highest for any month since 1989. The surge reached 11.6 percent from May last year under the daily average criterion. The balance was also boosted by the decline in imports. In May, the nation bought $21.689 billion, a 12.1 percent reduction, also based on the daily average in the same comparison.

After the result from May, the balance of trade shows a surplus of $35.285 billion for the first five months of 2023. It is also the highest for the time span and 39.1 percent above the same months last year.

In the case of exports, the rise is due more to the increase in the volume traded than in the global prices of goods. Last month, the volume of exported goods rose on average 29.3 percent against May last year, while average prices dropped 13.7 percent.

In imports, the amount purchased rose only 0.3 percent, but average prices sank 13.1 percent. The price drop was mainly driven by fuel and fertilizers, items that became pricier after the start of the Russia–Ukraine war, but have begun returning to normal prices. The prices of chemical fertilizers, which skyrocketed last year, plunged by 47.6 percent between May 2022 and 2023.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Juliana Andrade

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