Brazilian exports to the Arab countries generated US$ 716 million in April, an increase of 15% over the same month in 2008. In the accumulated result for 2009, shipments totaled US$ 2.55 billion, expansion of 7% over the first four months of last year, according to figures supplied by the Foreign Trade Secretariat (Secex) and compiled by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce.
April was the second month running of two-digit growth after two months of reduction in sales in January and February. Imports of Arab products dropped 50.7% in April and 62% in the accumulated result for the year, between US$ 369 million and US$ 1.1 billion, respectively.
"Due to the reduction in oil prices and lower imports of the commodity and to greater production by Brazilian oil company Petrobras, Brazil is maintaining a great trade surplus with the Arab countries this year, " said the Arab Brazilian Chamber president Salim Taufic Schahin. Oil and its derivatives are by far the main products traded by the Arabs in the Brazilian market.
In his evaluation, the growth of sales to the Middle East and North Africa should remain at two digits during the year, also expanding the trade surplus, unless oil appreciates greatly in coming months.
The main destinations for Brazilian products in the first four months of 2009 were Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Morocco. There was expressive expansion of shipments to some of the most consolidated markets, like Egypt, to where exports grew 59% and reached US$ 449 million, Algeria, with US$ 199 million, growth of 28%, and Morocco, with US$ 191.5 million, 37% more.
Other destinations that presented growth above average were Bahrain (17%), Yemen (49%), Iraq (82%), Lebanon (39%), Mauritania (148%) and Sudan (94%).
Among the products traded most in the period, Schahin pointed out aircraft, whose sales to the region totaled US$ 129 million, an increase of 49% over the first four months of 2008. "Embraer has been very successful there," he said.
The main products shipped from January to April were chicken and beef, sugar, iron ore, aircraft, maize, partially manufactured goods in iron and steel, electric material, vehicles and parts, soy, coffee, soy oil, tinned goods, tobacco and soy chaff.
In the area of agribusiness, despite a 17% reduction in beef export revenues, due to a price reduction on the international market, there was significant growth in sugar shipments, maize and three products in the soy complex (grain, oil and chaff).
"Brazil is very competitive in this area, as we have price and quantity for export," said Schahin. "A demonstration of this is that there is Arab interest in investing in Brazilian agribusiness to supply their own markets and export to third parties," he said.
Despite the lower imports of Arab products, it is worth pointing out the performance of some products, like plastics, whose sales totaled 124%, and fishery products, with growth of 54%.
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