By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Despite the Carne Fraca (Weak Meat) scandal, Brazil’s trade balance registered a surplus of US$6.969 billion in April, the best result for the month since 1989, according to the Ministry of Development, Foreign Trade and Services.

Brazil, Brasilia,Foreign Trade Secretary Abrão Neto announced the results of the April 2017 trade balance on Tuesday in Brasilia
Foreign Trade Secretary Abrão Neto announced the results of the April 2017 trade balance on Tuesday in Brasilia, photo by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil.

The total balance in the four first months of the year, of US$21.387 billion is also the highest in history for the period, surpassing by far the record registered in January-April of 2016, of US$13.2 billion.

In April, Brazil registered a total of US$17.686 billion in exports, surpassing the US$10.717 billion registered for imports. Daily average exports grew by 27.8 percent in relation to April 2016, and by 12.5 percent in relation to March 2017.

Daily average imports, on the other hand, grew by 13.3 percent in comparison with April of last year and by 5.8 percent in relation to March of 2017.

The volume of exported meats (beef, pork and chicken) fell in April, possibly due to the effect of the Weak Flesh scandal, according to the Ministry’s Foreign Trade Abrão Neto.

“Everyone followed the (Weak Meat) operation. There has been a very prompt action of the government and, over time, normalization is expected. But there was an impact on the volume (in April),” said Neto during the presentation of the results in Brasilia on Tuesday.

According to the official there was a 13.3 percent drop in the amount of meat sold abroad in April of this year compared to April 2016.

The scandal, announced in March led to the temporary closing of a few meat packing plants in Brazil and the cancellation of meat shipments by some of the country’s largest importers, like China, Chile and Egypt.

Federal investigators accused 21 packing plants of using ascorbic acid to hide the smell of tainted meat, repackaging meat with new valid dates and bribing health inspectors to report their products as safe.

With the April results, Brazil’s government now forecasts a trade balance surplus of US$55 billion in 2017. If confirmed, the result will surpass the positive balance recorded in 2016 (US$47.69 billion), the largest trade balance surplus in 28 years.

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