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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Despite the decline of export value of Brazilian agricultural goods and the decline in the agriculture sector’s surplus in 2015 in comparison to 2014, the record volume shipped and the appreciated U.S. dollar helped the sector last year, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. Data released on Monday shows that agricultural exports fell by 8.8 percent in value last year from 2014, to US$88.2 billion.

Exports increased in Brazil, soybean
Soybean exports registered record volumes in 2015, photo by Roosewelt Pinheiro/Agencia Brasil.

According to Tatiana Palermo, secretary of International Agribusiness Relations at the Ministry of Agriculture, the reason for the decline in export value was the sharp decline of prices of the main commodities sold by Brazil abroad. These include soybean and meats.

Nonetheless, Palermo told journalists during the press conference, the sector fared much better than other sectors of the economy. “The decline was much lower than that [registered] in other sectors [which make up the Brazilian export agenda]. We reduced the decline of the trade balance as a whole and were also able to register a surplus in very difficult [economic] times,” said the official.

Some products, for example, which registered significant declines in international prices, registered record volume increases in exports by Brazil. This is the case of soybean, with 54.3 million tons being shipped abroad last year; corn, with 28.9 million tons; and pulp, with 11.9 million tons.

Palermo also states that despite the decline in exported value, the participation of the agribusiness sector in the Brazilian trade balance increased from 43 percent in 2014 to 46.2 percent, the largest ever registered by the Agriculture Ministry.

For 2016 Brazilian agricultural exports are expected to rise even further, with increased sales to China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, and the opening up of the South Korean market to Brazilian goods, according to the government.

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