BRASILIA, Brazil—Brazilian officials say the South American country had record trade figures in 2011, logging $256 billion in exports while maintaining a $29.7-billion surplus backed by high commodity prices and strong Chinese demand.
Exports to China increased by more than 43 per cent, topping $44.3 billion. In 2009 China surpassed the U.S. as Brazil’s biggest trading partner, currently representing about 17 per cent of Brazil’s exports.
The Trade Ministry said total trade with China was $77.1 billion.
Brazil’s booming middle class and its growing consumption led to a record year for imports into Latin America’s biggest economy, with $226.3 billion worth of goods flowing into the nation, increase 25 per cent over 2010.
Brazil is a commodities superpower and Teixeira says strong production and high prices for iron ore, soybeans and crude oil have helped balance trade.
Trade with China outpaced that with the U.S., Brazil’s No. 2 partner, with $60.1 billion in bilateral trade. Argentina was Brazil’s third-largest partner in trade, with $39.6 billion flowing between the two nations.
Brazil’s trade ministry expects 2012 to be another record year.
But there are concerns about the ongoing crisis in Europe that could contribute to a slowdown in China’s economic expansion.
Should China’s growth slow, its appetite for Brazilian commodities would dampen, triggering a drop in global prices and hurting Brazil across the board.
But Teixeira says Brazil has rapidly diversified its trading partners in the past decade and the nation is working to deepen trade with many nations, principally looking to Africa as a region where Brazil forecasts future growth in exports.