Brazil's trade surplus widened sharply to USD 6.64 billion in December 2018 from USD 5.00 billion in the same period of the previous year. It was the largest trade surplus since June 2017.
Exports surged 11.1 percent from a year earlier to USD 19.56 billion in December, primarily due to sales of primary goods (34.6 percent) such as iron ore (19.8 percent), crude oil (46.4 percent), soybeans (79.3 percent), corn (13.9 percent), soybean meal (157.9 percent), coffee beans (31.7 percent), chicken meat (12 percent) and beef (3.5 percent). In addition, exports of semi-manufactured products rose 1.3 percent boosted by higher sales of cellulose (38 percent), while exports of raw sugar fell 27.8 percent. By contrast, exports of manufactured products declined 2.4 percent mainly due to a drop in vehicle sales (-62.4 percent).
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Among major trading partners, exports rose to China (46.5 percent), ASEAN countries (43.3 percent), the EU (18.2 percent) and the US (6.2 percent), but fell to Argentina (-55.2 percent).
Imports advanced at a much softer 2.5 percent to USD 12.92 billion, mainly driven by purchases of fuels and lubricants (32.9 percent), capital goods (5.6 percent) and intermediate goods (0.8 percent). Conversely, imports of consumer goods slumped 18.3 percent.
Among major trading partners, imports increased from the US (27 percent) and Argentina (29.3 percent), but fell from China (-3.6 percent), ASEAN countries (-17.1 percent) and the EU (-16 percent).
For 2018 as a whole, the trade surplus narrowed to USD 58.30 billion from USD 66.99 billion in 2017 as exports rose 10 percent to USD 239.52 billion and imports went up 20.2 percent to USD 181.23 billion.