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Brazil Has the Worst Foreign Trade Balance in 13 years

01/03/2014 - 08h23

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SHEILA D' AMORIM
FROM BRASILIA

In 2013 Brazil had the worst foreign trade balance in 13 years, despite official statistics showing record exports in oil platforms that actually have left the country because they were leased inside the country.

The US$ 2.6 billion surplus was 87% lower than 2012 and the lowest since 2000, when there was a deficit of US$ 731 million. It was also the first time since 2002 that the annual surplus did not reach the two digits level.

Last years' performance reflected a combination of factors from a crisis in the major world economies, affecting sales of Brazilian products, a weak domestic oil production as well as production of oil products and an increase in domestic fuel demand.

Oil is one of the main export items in Brazil. With the low production in 2013, the country has not only stopped selling, but also had to import more to meet an increase in domestic demand.

Thus, in 2013, oil trade balance had the largest deficit in history: US$ 20.3 billion. This account was influenced because of a purchase made in 2012 valued as US$ 4.6 billion in oil only came up in official calculations in 2013, contributing to the increase in deficit.

For the year, Brazil total exports fell 1% compared to 2012, while imports reached a record high, up 6.5%.

Still, Secretary of Foreign Trade from the Ministry of Development, Daniel Godinho, said there are reasons to celebrate, as exports remained "high level" in a year considered extremely "difficult."

The picture of foreign trade in 2013 was not worse because the government counted as export the accounting back and forth involving seven platforms produced here and sold to subsidiaries of Petrobras and other oil abroad, leased to companies in Brazil.

These operations, which are legal and generate tax advantages for companies (oil companies do not need to pay PIS, COFINS and IPI on platforms), totaled US$ 7.7 billion in 2013, a record high. Without these exports, we would it had a foreign trade deficit.

Translated by SIMONE PALMA

Read the article in the original language

Rich Press/Bloomberg
In 2013, oil trade balance had the largest deficit in history: US$ 20.3 billion
In 2013, oil trade balance had the largest deficit in history: US$ 20.3 billion

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