In spite of a record year of exports, Brazil's 2008 trade surplus reached 24.7 billion US dollars which is a significant 38% descent compared to the previous year when it totalled more than 40 billion US dollars.
Brazil's Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade reported Friday that exports reached an all time record of 197.9 billion US dollars in 2008, up 23% over 2007, but the trade surplus slipped considerably because of an imports boom. In December exports totalled 13.8 billion USD and imports 11.5 billion with a positive surplus of 2.3 billion USD. Exports were just below the Central Bank target of 202 billion USD for 2008, while imports soared to 173 billion USD. This means imports increased by 43.6%, establishing a new record. However the Brazilian trade surplus is in the range of the latest private and government estimates, which had anticipated 24 billion USD (Focus, weekly financial poll) and 23.5 billion, the Central Bank. For 2009 trade surplus estimates are even leaner. The private sector forecasts exports will be 15 billion USD higher that imports while the Central Bank is more cautious, 14 billion USD.