The Brazilian trade balance posted a 112 million surplus in March with exports totaling 17.628 billion dollars and imports, 17.516 billion. It has been the worst result for March since 2001, when a 276.1 million deficit was recorded while the combined deficit for the first quarter of the year, 6.1bn dollars, is the worst result since records started being kept, in 1994.
The information was released on Tuesday by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade. In March, exports averaged at 927.8 million dollars per day, down 4% from March 2013, but up 16.5% from February 2014. The decline in exports as against last year was mostly due to lower sales of semi-manufactured goods (-19.6%) and manufactured goods (-15.3%).
Imports averaged at 921.9 million dollars per day, down 3.8% from March 2013 and up 2.1% from February this year. Compared with 2013, fuels and lubricants imports declined. According to the release the reasons for the decline were lower prices and lesser import volumes for oil, fuel oils, natural gas, charcoal and gasoline. Capital goods imports, i.e. products used by industry, also declined, as did consumer goods imports, including home appliances, beverages, tobacco, clothing, furniture and automobiles.
Sales to China, Brazil's main trade partner climbed 22.8% and reached 4.557 billion dollars while exports to the US stood at 1.888bn with a 11.8% expansion. Sales to Argentina, Brazil's third trade partner, contracted 10.9% to 1.183bn, because of less purchases of iron ore, steel, farm equipment, cars and auto parts.
Finally in the 12 months to March 2014, Brazil recorded a 1.2 billion surplus, which is 86% lower than the previous 12-month period, the ministry said.