Brazil witnesses highest trade surplus in 4 years from sharp fall in imports

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — Brazil registered a trade surplus of 19.68 billion U.S. dollars last year, which did not result from better export performances but a sharp fall in imports, the country’s Development, Industry and Trade Ministry said on Monday.

The surplus, the biggest since 2011, has enabled Brazil to compensate the trade deficit of 4.05 billion U.S. dollars posted in 2014.

In 2015, Brazil’s exports amounted to 191.13 billion U.S. dollars, down 14.1 percent from 2014, while imports totaled 171.45 billion U.S. dollars, down 24.3 percent compared with 2014.

Both imports and exports were the lowest since 2009, as measured by daily averages.

As a large commodities producer, Brazil was severely affected by the low prices of commodities last year, said Foreign Trade Secretary Daniel Godinho.

“Exports rose 10 percent in volume, but the 22-percent fall in global prices mitigated the gains obtained with the relatively higher volume,” he added. “If the volumes sold in 2015 had been sold at the average prices in 2014, we would have had an income of 37 billion U.S. dollars.”

According to Godinho, several of Brazil’s main exports such as iron ore, oil, and soybean products, were affected by the low prices. But its vehicle exports increased in 2015.

The government expects a better trade balance in the new year, hoping to achieve a trade surplus of 35 billion U.S. dollars.

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