By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The trade balance in Brazil closed the first semester of 2016 with a surplus of US$23.635 billion, according to the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC). This is the best result for a first semester in the history of the index.
For the year, foreign sales totaled US$90.237 billion, down by 5.9 percent in the relation to the daily average in the first half of 2015. Foreign purchases however showed an even greater average daily decline, of 28.9 percent in comparison to the same period in 2015, totaling US$66.602 billion from January through June.
The main reason for the steep decline in imports was due to appreciation of the US dollar in relation to the Brazilian real seen last year, making imported goods less attractive to the local population. The main decreases of imported goods were observed in fuels and lubricants (-48.9 percent), consumer goods (-27.5 percent) and intermediate goods (-26.8 percent).
The data however, shows that although exports have been setting records in volumes shipped abroad, due to the steep decline in commodities prices around the world, the value exported has decreased. From January through June, data reveals that while the volume of exports grew by 9.8 percent, prices of the commodities sent abroad decreased by an average of 14.8 percent.
And the increasing exports– decreasing imports trend is expected to continue at least until the end of the year. According to officials of the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services, the recent appreciation of the Brazilian real in relation to the US dollar is not expected to affect Brazilian exports.
“Trade contracts are signed months in advance. Only a long-lasting depreciation of the US dollar may impact foreign sales,” Herlon Brandão, director of the Statistics and Export Department at the MDIC was quoted as saying by Agencia Brasil.