China/USA: world economic powerhouses responsible for Brazil’s main trade flows

Sep, 12, 2022 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202237

The two largest economic powerhouses on the planet, China and the United States were, respectively, responsible for Brazil’s largest bilateral trade surplus and deficit in the period between January-August 2021, according to government data.

Brazil accumulated a balance of US$ 23.314 billion (more than half of the total surplus of US$ 44.005 billion obtained by the country until August 2022) in trade with the Chinese while suffering, in the same period, the most significant deficit in the history of bilateral trade with the Americans or with any other country (US$ 10.457 billion).


Regarding trade with China, August was the stage for a slight slowdown in Brazilian exporters, which contracted 2.1% in eight months to US$ 63.054 billion. Conversely, the period saw a significant increase in Chinese imports, which increased by 35.1% and reached US$ 35.740 billion. As a result, the trade flow (exports + imports) increased by 9.6% to US$ 102.794 billion.

Only three products (soybeans, iron ore, and oil) accounted for 78% of the total amount sent by Brazilian enterprises to China in this context.

Soybean exports increased by 20.2% until August vis-a-vis the first eight months of 2021, generating record revenue of USD 26.3 billion – 42% of what Brazil sold to China. Down 38%, iron ore exports totaled USD 12.6 billion, with a share of 20% of exports. Finally, oil exports slightly increased by 1.99% to USD 10.1 billion, 16% of shipments.

On the Chinese end, the top five most exported products – all of them industrial items – were thermionic valves and tubes (US$ 4.7 billion); organo-inorganic compounds (US$ 3.4 billion); telecommunications equipment (US$ 2.8 billion); insecticides, fungicides, etc. (US$ 1.98 billion); and other products from the manufacturing industry (US$ 1.96 billion).


The US was, by far, the country with which Brazil registered the most significant deficit in its foreign trade record until August. In the eight months, Brazilian exports grew 27.7% and totaled US$ 24.717 billion, while American sales had an even more expressive increase of 48.1% to US$ 34.935 billion.

With such figures, Brazil’s trade flow totaled US$ 59.412 billion (up 19.3% compared to the same period in 2021), and the trade balance resulted in a negative balance of US$ 10.457 billion, well above the US$ deficit. $8.240 billion accrued throughout last year.

Despite the significant negative balance, it is essential to highlight that no other among Brazil’s major trading partners maintains with the country a trade relationship marked by such a substantial share of industrialized goods as the United States.

Brazil’s top five most exported items are oil (US$ 3.2 billion and a 7.9% share), airplanes (US$ 1.3 billion and a 5.3% share), pig iron (US$ 1.3 billion and 5.3%), and unroasted coffee (US$ 113 billion and 4.6%).

On the American side, the main exports are fuel oils, petroleum, and natural gas, items that saw robust expansion in Brazilian imports, especially after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Source: Comex do Brasil

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