Brazil's trade surplus hit 1.7 billion US dollars in February, up from a 518 million dollar deficit in January and an 882 million dollars surplus in February 2008, the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade reported this week.
Despite the significant improvement in February, the country is still undergoing a strong economic deceleration compared with the same period in 2008. According to the ministry, exports in February reached 9.5 billion dollars, with an average rate of 532.7 million dollars per business day, up 14.4% from January but down 20% from the same period of last year.
Imports totalled 7.8 billion dollars, with an average of 434.5 million dollars per business day, down 11.5% from January and 30.9% from the amount registered in February 2008. The accumulated trade surplus in the first two months of 2009 dropped 26.3% from the same period in 2008, to 1.2 billion dollars, with an average of 31.9 million dollars per business day.
Both accumulated exports and imports also shrank in February, down 21.9% and 21.6% from the same period of last year, to 19.3 and 18.1 billion dollars respectively.
In 2008, Brazil was already experiencing a reduction in its trade surplus, mainly because of rising imports on strong domestic economic growth. Brazil's economy expanded by an estimated 5.6% in 2008, but growth this year is expected to reach only about 1.5%.
Brazil's foreign trade surplus narrowed significantly last year to 24.74 billion compared with the 40 billion of 2007.
According to Brazil’s central bank weekly survey of expert opinion, released earlier Monday, the 2009 foreign trade surplus will reach just 13 billion US dollars.
The weekly survey tracks the opinions of 100 analysts and economists from banks and brokerages, reporting the average of their expectations.