Brazilian meat exports dropped 19% to $50.5 million last week (from $62.2 million the week before), as the effects of alleged bribery of health inspectors began to be felt. Brazilian federal police unveiled on March 17 an investigation into alleged payments to government health officials by meat processing companies to forego inspections and ignore abuses, codenamed “Operation Weak Flesh”
Despite the negative effects of “meatgate”, the trade balance recorded a surplus of $ 1,602 billion last week – a result of $ 4.453 billion of exports and $ 2.851 billion of imports. During the month, exports totalled $ 15.982 billion and imports $ 10.525 billion, a positive balance of $ 5.457 billion.
Average exports in the fourth week of the month reached $ 890.6 million; that is 0.4% higher than the week before, due to the increase in exports of basic products (soybeans, iron ore, charcoal, residues of precious metals and natural honey). On the other hand, sales of semi-manufactured and manufactured products fell 15.5% and 0.7%, respectively.