UPDATE 1-Brazil posts first trade deficit in 14 years
(Adds details, sector breakdown, analyst comment)
BRASILIA Jan 5 (Reuters) - Brazil registered its first annual trade deficit since 2000 on Monday as economic growth slowed and prices fell for iron ore, soybeans and other key commodities exports, government data showed.
The country's trade deficit for 2014 was $3.93 billion, the biggest gap since 1998, the Trade Ministry said. The deficit is a serious challenge for President Dilma Rousseff and her new economic team as she starts her second term.
A deteriorating trade balance over the course of 2014 helped weaken the local currency, the Brazilian real, as fewer U.S. dollars entered the economy. The weaker real could lead to additional inflation pressure as imports become more costly in local currency terms.
The country notched a $293 million surplus in the month of December, well below the median forecast for a surplus of $500 million in a Reuters survey of 13 analysts.
Brazil posted a deficit of $2.35 billion in November. In 2013, the trade surplus was $2.38 billion, its smallest surplus in nearly a decade.
Exports were $225 billion in 2014, down 7 percent from 2013. Imports were $229 billion for the year, a 4.4 percent decline from the previous year.
The value of manufactured goods exported in 2014 fell nearly 14 percent from 2013.
Stalled trade negotiations, as well as slower growth and lower commodities prices contributed to a deteriorating trade scenario, said Bruno Lavieri, an economist at Brazil-based Tendencias. Continuación...