By Melissa Rossi, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While Brazil’s economic power-engine cools down as a reflection of the global financial crisis, the economy of the State of Rio de Janeiro continues to grow on the fast-track of its oil exports. At present, Rio accounts for 81 percent of Brazil’s trade balance surplus, reflecting the importance of the state’s offshore pre-salt oil reserves located in Brazil’s Southeastern coast.
In an interview to O Globo, Tatiana Prazeres, the Secretary of International Trade from MDIC (Ministry of Development, Industry and International Trade) emphasized that Rio should strongly aid Brazil’s trade balance that currently is lower than last year’s US$30 billion.
While the national trade balance fell from last year’s US$8.5 billion to US$6.3 billion during the first five months of 2012, Rio’s trade increased from US$3.7 billion to US$5.1 billion as a consequence of its growing oil exports.
Oil is Rio’s major export item and it has accounted for 68 percent of the state’s international sales during the first five months of 2012. According to the MDIC, with the exploration of the pre-salt oil reserves, the importance of oil will become increasingly relevant for the state in the upcoming years.
Indeed, Rio’s main purchaser of basic products is the United States (seventy percent) followed by Saudi Arabia, China and France. This changing global dynamics hints not only at the productive potential of Rio’s pre-salt reserves but also at a new shift of energy geopolitics as Middle Eastern political instability and greater oil demand from emerging nations begin to redirect global export and import oil flows.
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