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Grains Strengthen Brazilian Midwest Exports

18 January 2013

BRAZIL - Soy and maize leveraged exports from Brazil's Midwest, the only region in the country whose foreign sales rose in 2012. Revenues stood at US$ 25.442 billion, up 22.29 per cent from 2011. The figures were released last Tuesday, 15 January by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.

"Last year, Brazil exported twice the amount of maize as in 2011," explained José Augusto de Castro, president of the Brazilian Foreign Trade Association (AEB). "Maize prices went up in the international market and Brazil benefited doubly, from the higher volume shipped and the price itself," said the executive.

Brazil-Arab News Agency reports that according to him, the United States maize crop failure paved the way for Brazilian exports to increase. In 2012, Brazil shipped 19.77 million tonnes of the product overseas.

The worldwide 6.8 per cent soy price hike was also beneficial to Midwest Brazilian exports, which accounted for 10.49 per cent of nationwide exports.

All other regions of the country saw a decline in exports in 2012 from 2011. The sharpest fall was the North’s, down 15.19 per cent at US$ 17.692 billion sold. The Southeast, the leading exporting region in the country, saw an 8.36 per cent drop, at US$ 133.7 billion sold. The South posted US$ 44.015 billion in revenues, down 4.05 per cent from 2011. Exports from the Northeast were down 0.38 per cent to US$ 18.773 billion.

"The state of Rio Grande do Sul was badly hit by a soy crop failure. In São Paulo and the northeastern states there was a drop in exports of manufactured goods, while Minas Gerais and Pará were affected by the decline in iron ore prices," said Mr Castro of the downward exports in the four regions.

The top exporting Brazilian municipality in 2012 was Angra dos Reis, in Rio de Janeiro, at US$ 12.207 billion. The main product shipped from the municipality is oil. The city with the highest trade surplus, i.e. where the value of exports exceeded that of imports by the largest margin, was Paraupebas, in the state of Pará, due to iron ore. The city is home to Carajás, the world’s largest open-sky mine, owned by company Vale.

According to Mr Castro, the Brazilian Midwest is highly likely to remain atop with regard to rising exports in 2013. "This year, Brazil is increasing the amount of soy produced, and the price should be up from last year," he said.

"If the 82 million-tonne soy crop (estimated by the National Supply Company) proves true, the Midwest will lead growth in exports in the country," says the AEB president. "Soya bean, soya bran and soya oil are likely to become Brazil’s main export items, replacing iron ore," he says.

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