In 2008, China assumed the role of leading global importer of products of the Brazilian agribusiness production chain. The shift in the ranking of buyers is due to the fact that the Asian country increased its purchases of Brazilian products by 70%. Thus, China alone answered to 11% of the sector exports last year.
The figures also show that, in one year's time, China went from the third to the first position in the ranking of leading global buyers of Brazilian agribusiness products.
Last year, agribusiness exports to China totaled US$ 7,931 billion, growth of 69.69% in comparison with 2007, when the Chinese bought US$ 4,673 billion in Brazilian agribusiness products.
Despite that growth, Chinese imports are still focused around soy, which, last year, answered to 77.6% of Brazilian agribusiness exports to China.
Second in the ranking is the Netherlands, with a 9% share, and the United States come in third, with 8.7%. The bloc of 22 Arab countries was the fourth largest destination for foreign sales by the sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture calls attention to the strong growth (112%) in exports to Venezuela, which went from the 15th position in the ranking, in 2007, to the 9th last year.
Foreign trade specialists believe that, due to the global crisis, this year, China should reduce its imports and, therefore, it is unlikely to maintain the same purchase volume from Brazilian agribusiness.
The exporter market is expecting a reduction of 10% to 12% of Chinese imports of Brazilian agribusiness products. Still, the Chinese are going to retain the first position in the ranking of leading imports of Brazilian agribusiness products.
In December last year, according to figures disclosed by the Chinese government, total imports by the country saw a 21.3% decrease over the same month of 2007. According to the BBC website, in November, a 17.9 reduction had already been recorded in November, with total imports of US$ 74.9 billion. The reduction in exports that took place in November had been the first in seven years.
The third biodiesel plant of Petrobras Biofuel is beginning start-up operations and should become operational still in January, in the municipality of Montes Claros, Minas Gerais. The plant should deliver 1.5 million liters of biodiesel in the first quarter of 2009.
The production, which has been sold at the 12th biodiesel auction of the National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuel Agency (ANP), should start within the next few weeks, within the plant's schedule for entry into operation
The implementation of the plant in the municipality of Montes Claros, as well as of the Plants of Candeias, in the state of Bahia, and Quixadá, in Ceará, is in keeping with a program for developing the local agricultural market, which will supply the raw material for biodiesel production.
According to the company, the plants of Candeias and Quixadá have exceeded their production goals last year. The two units ended the year of 2008 with total deliveries of 8.8 million liters of biodiesel to the market, a volume that surpasses the 8 million liters sold at the 10th and 11th ANP biodiesel auctions.
The two plants started operating in October this year, marking the debut of Petrobras in commercial biodiesel manufacturing. After three months, Candeias and Quixadá delivered 4.4 million liters of biodiesel each. Together, the three biodiesel plants have capacity for producing 170 million liters of biodiesel a year.
Drinking More Coffee
Coffee consumption among the lower middle class, which represents 42.6% of the Brazilian population, has doubled over the last five years. Such was the conclusion of a research conducted by the São Paulo Coffee Industry Union (Sindicafé-SP), in partnership with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply and with financial support from the Coffee Economy Defence Fund (Funcafé).
Since 2004, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Brazilian Coffee Industry Association (Abic) are surveying coffee consumption trends in order to point out market opportunities and encourage consumption of the beverage.
With each survey, one notices that the habit of drinking coffee outside the household is gradually increasing. This time, the increase was 42% in comparison with 2007. The survey also identified that market is open to new releases and innovation in terms of types of products and packages, new ways of preparing and of drinking coffee.
The espresso, cappuccino and special coffees are also gaining space in the consumer market. Consumption of espresso coffee by the upper class has increased, as did the cappuccino and instant types by the middle class.
Eye on the Ball
"Brazil should be in the center of attention and of investment in sports in coming years." This is the opinion of Markus Hefter, director of the main sports fair in the world (ISPO Winter 2009), which takes place from February 1st to 4, in Munich, Germany. To the executive at ISPO, within the 150 countries that should be represented, Brazil should be one of the stars.
"The financial crisis shows that investors cannot go wrong in Brazil, due to such opportunities and government incentives in the sports area. It will be one of the priority areas for great brands," stated Hefter. Brazil should have a noble space and should promote several talks and meetings to simplify networking between Brazilian and foreign companies.
The moment for sports business in Brazil is so favorable that on January 22, starting at 9 am, the Sports Ministry and the Brazil-Germany Chamber of Commerce, the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) and the Brazilian Sports Industry Association (Abriesp) should promote in the Football Museum, in São Paulo, the I Encoesporte - Meeting of the Sports Productive Chain.
"It will be the first meeting to discuss the great sports events of 2009 and also for the release of the Program for Structuring of National Sports, to be coordinated by our association," pointed out Maurício Fernandez, Abriesp president.
The provinces of Quebec, in Canada, and Rhône-Alpes, in France, are going to participate in trilateral cooperation with the state of Paraná. The objective is to strengthen family farming. Specialists in these two provinces should come to the region in February to expand their knowledge of what is being done in the area of Agro-ecology, Agroindustry, Forestry Cultivation and Rural Tourism.
When taking into consideration the similar characteristics of Family Farming between all three parties, the proposal is now to establish trilateral cooperation, improving exchange in areas in which there is already bilateral cooperation with Paraná.