By Doug Gray, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The country’s more traditional exports might be down on the record highs of late 2011, but with Brazil’s appeal diversifying ahead of the global gaze over the coming years, the outlook for the sector is more positive than ever. From famous consumables like Açaí and coconut water to Havaiana flip-flops, 2014 will be the year that Brazil exports become firmly in fashion around the globe.
The fads of purple Amazonian fruits and beachwear, however, will remain far down the list of priorities in terms of the economy as a whole. Mineral exports to countries including China, the U.S., Argentina and Russia account for the majority of Brazil’s annual US$260 billion export industries.
Over the coming decades, the pre-salt oil reserves could see the country become one of the world’s leading oil exporters. A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) this year observed that Brazil “plays a central role in meeting the world’s oil needs through to 2035, accounting for one-third of the net growth in supply in the New Policies Scenario.” That scenario would see oil production rise from 2.2 million barrels per day in 2012 to six million in 2035.
Brazil is already the world’s leading exporter of soybeans, sugar and orange juice, and this year the country surpassed the U.S. as the world’s biggest corn exporter. Production has increased sixty percent in the last ten years, leading to a huge surplus that has sated world demand that the U.S. hasn’t been able to meet.
By the end of November, the 1.2 million tons (US$5.7 billion) of beef exports had already surpassed 2012’s figure, with Hong Kong and Russia the biggest markets, buying a sizable forty percent of that total between them.
Now with the World Cup looming, UK trend watchers Mintel say that Brazilian brands are also very much alive to fresh opportunities overseas. “The trade association Wines of Brazil is aiming to double exports between 2012 and 2016. Moët et Chandon has been producing a Chandon Brazilian sparkling wine in the Bento Gonçalves area of Southern Brazil since the 1970s and the country is an emerging wine producer with the potential to crossover to a wider market,” they said in a trend report for 2014. Açaí exports also hit a record US$10 million in 2013.
Car exports, meanwhile, are up 46 percent on the same period last year. With US$15.4 billion in sales so far in 2013, the appetite for what is notoriously expensive domestically, shows no sign of letting up elsewhere. “It is the highest number that the automobile industry has ever exported,” said Luiz Moan, the president of Anfavea, the National Association of Car Makers.
Whether or not acquired tastes like pão de queijo and Guaraná will, as Mintel suggests, take off overseas as a result of the World Cup remains to be seen, but brand Brazil is ready to show the world that it can offer much more for the world to consume than natural resources.