After registering a deficit in January, the trade balance recovered in February and had the second biggest positive result for the month. Last month, the country exported US$ 4.049 billion more than it imported. The surplus was not bigger than that of February 2017, when the country sold US$ 4.229 billion more than it bought.
In the first two months of this year, the trade balance accumulates a surplus of US$ 3.835 billion. This represents more than double the result obtained in January and February of last year (US$ 1.616 billion), but it is far from the record of US$ 6.722 billion recorded in the first two months of 2017.
Last month, Brazil sold US$ 22.913 billion abroad and bought US$ 18.864 billion. Both imports and exports hit a record in February, since the beginning of the historical series, in 1989. Exports rose 32.6% in relation to February last year, according to the daily average criterion. Imports increased 22.9% in the same comparison.
One of the main factors responsible for the recovery of the trade balance was the appreciation of commodities (primary goods with international prices), which rose in February amid the intensification of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The recovery of some crops, mainly soybeans, also contributed to the result.
Last month, the volume of exported goods rose 22.6%, while prices rose 13.5% on average in February, compared to the same month last year. In imports, the quantity purchased fell by 2.5%, but average prices rose by 30.9%.
When analyzing the performance in the agricultural sector, the recovery of crops weighed more. The volume of goods shipped increased 61.2% in February compared to the same month in 2021, while the average price rose 31.8%. In the manufacturing industry, volume rose 16.9%, with price increasing at a similar level: 16.3%. In the extractive industry, which includes exports of minerals and oil, the quantity increased by 11.1%, while average prices dropped by 3.1%.
The most prominent products in agricultural exports were unground wheat and rye (+874.7%), unroasted coffee (+89.7%) and soybeans (+187.5%). In the extractive industry, the biggest increases were registered in crude mineral oils (+114.1%), crude oil (+74.2%) and copper ore (+19%).
In the manufacturing industry, the biggest increases occurred in the items frozen or chilled beef (+81.8%), soybean meal (+40.5%) and fuel (+290.1%).
As for imports, the biggest increases were registered in the following products: barley (+620%), in agriculture; crude oil (+109.6%) and natural gas (+280%), in the extractive industry; and chemical fertilizers or fertilizers (+112.6%), in the transformation industry.
Regarding fertilizers, the increase is mainly due to the recent increase in prices. The amount imported fell by around 7% in February compared to February last year.
For 2022, the government forecasts a surplus of US$ 79.4 billion, a value similar to that of this year. The estimate, however, still does not consider the impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine. The projection should only be revised in April.
Estimates are more optimistic than those of the financial market. The Focus bulletin, a survey of market analysts released every week by the Central Bank, projects a surplus of US$ 64.06 billion this year.