BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil posted one of its biggest trade surpluses on record in June, official data showed on Wednesday, and the Economy Ministry raised its forecast for this year’s overall surplus by almost 20%.
June’s $7.5 billion surplus was a record for that particular month, the ministry said. It was more than the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of economists for $6.95 billion and sharply higher than the $5.4 billion surplus a year ago.
According to Refinitiv data, it was the second biggest monthly trade surplus in Brazil’s history, only behind the $7.7 billion surplus registered in May 2017.
Exports in June totaled $17.9 billion and imports were $10.4 billion, the Economy Ministry said, which helped bring the accumulated surplus in the first half of the year to $23 billion.
That was 10% smaller than the same period last year. But if the ministry’s new forecasts are accurate, trade will not be a drag on overall economic growth as has been the case in the last couple of years.
The Economy Ministry raised its 2020 trade surplus forecast by almost 20% to $55.4 billion from $46.6 billion, with the economy’s steep decline squeezing imports, and a weak currency and increased competitiveness lifting exports slightly.
The ministry now expects imports to total $147.1 billion this year, down from its previous forecast of $153.2 billion, and exports to total $202.5 billion, up from $199.8 billion.
Both these totals, however, would be sharply down from last year, reflecting the impact on international trade and commerce from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Economy Ministry’s new forecast is much higher than the central bank’s recent upwardly revised projection of a $39 billion surplus, and would be some 35% larger than last year’s surplus of $40.8 billion.
(Reporting by Jamie McGeever and Marcela Ayres; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)