Brazilian trade surplus posts record month in spite of “meatgate”


The crisis surrounding Brazilian beef exports did nothing to damage exports during the month of March as the trade balance closed with the best result in 29 years (the start of the data set). Exports outgrew imports by $7.1 billion, 61% higher than to March last year when exports were at $4.4 billion.

Last month, large meat packers were engulfed in a bribery investigation, which suspended purchases of Brazilian meat by a number of countries. Even with the ongoing probe and bans, meat exports rose 9% over March last year. However, while exports of poultry and pork remain high, sales of beef fell from $ 411 million to $ 404 million. Processed meat increased from $ 1.23 billion in 2016 to $ 1.34 billion in 2017, also a 9% increase.

Export highlights

On the side of exports, the highlights in March were sales of iron ore (up 186.7% compared to March 2016), hydrocarbons (170.9%), fuel oil (161.7%), crude oil (145.9%), synthetic rubber (111.9%), semi-manufactured goods of iron and steel (109.3%), flexible tubing of iron or steel (94.6%), cargo vehicles (67.1%), sugar (51.5%), motor cars (47%), pork (33.4%) and soybeans (15.6%).

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