Brazil's trade surplus comes lower than expected in October

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s trade surplus in October was lower than forecast, even though exports grew faster than imports for the first time since February, official figures showed on Tuesday.

© Reuters/CARLA CARNIEL Ship is loaded at Port of Santos © Reuters/Fernando Donasci Cranes are seen in the distance during a workers’ strike at Latin America’s biggest container port in Santos

The trade surplus reached $3.9 billion in October, according to the Economy Ministry, below the median forecast of a $4.2 billion surplus in a Reuters poll.

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Exports grew by 27.1% from the same month last year, to $27.3 billion.

Herlon Brandao, undersecretary of intelligence and foreign trade statistics, said the move was driven by a large increase in volumes exported to China.

Imports increased by 19.8%, to $23.4 billion.

Brazil is a strong exporter of commodities such as soybeans, iron ore, coffee and beef, but had seen imports rise faster for seven straight months.

The government pointed out that purchases from abroad were being affected by higher prices of fuel and fertilizers, which surged after the Ukraine war.

During a news conference, Brandao said it was difficult to tell whether October’s performance represents a trend reversal for Brazilian exports in a scenario of broad global uncertainties, with the monetary tightening in advanced economies threatening consumer demand.

On the other hand, he pointed out that the sale of food products, which are also representative of the country, tends to be less sensitive to economic deceleration.

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres)

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