Brazil posts record trade surplus

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Brazil reported a record trade surplus last year, the highest since the trade ministry began compiling figures in 1989.

The country's trade surplus was US$67bn, up from US$47.68bn in 2016, the previous historic record, according to the trade and industry ministry.

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Exports totaled US$217.74bn, a rise of 18.5% from 2016. Imports increased 10.5% to US$150.74bn. "The increase in imports, according to economists, means that the Brazilian economy has resumed growth," said Marcos Pereira, from the country's trade ministry.

After two years in a deep economic recession, the country's economy expanded at a projected level of 1% in 2017 and is expected to grow around 3% this year, according to the finance ministry.

FORECASTING TRADE IN 2018

The government remains optimistic about foreign trade. Exports are expected to be the highest in the last three years, according to Abrão Árabe Neto, secretary of foreign trade for the ministry.

"The trade surplus is likely to be robust and stay at US$50bn, which would be the second largest surplus in the Brazilian historical series, only behind 2017," he said.

The secretary is not expecting a new record for this year, as imports are likely to expand with the continuing economic recovery.

"The expected growth for the Brazilian economy in 2018 should intensify the demand for imports, both by companies ... and Brazilian families that, with growing income and confidence in the economy, should increase purchases, especially of consumer goods," said Árabe Neto.