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Brazil 2012 Trade Surplus Narrowed to 10-Year Low on Exports

Brazil’s trade surplus narrowed to a 10-year low in 2012 as a weaker currency failed to offset the effects of the world economic slowdown.

Brazil posted a $19.4 billion trade surplus last year, the lowest since the $13.2 billion registered in 2002 and a 35 percent drop from the $29.8 billion surplus in 2011, according to the Trade Ministry website. In December, the surplus was $2.25 billion, compared with a median forecast for a $1.6 billion surplus from 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

President Dilma Rousseff’s government has imposed taxes on foreign inflows and the derivatives market and sold dollars in the spot, forward and futures market to weaken the real, in a bid to boost exports and protect domestic industry from cheaper imports. The currency declined 9 percent last year against the dollar, the second-biggest loss among the 16 most-traded currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Faltering economic growth worldwide slowed Brazilian sales abroad to $242.6 billion in 2012, down from $256 billion the year before. That resulted in a 5.3 percent drop in average daily exports from 2011, according to the Trade Ministry. Imports totaled $223.1 billion in 2012, down from $226.2 billion the year before, an average daily drop of 1.4 percent.

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