BRASILIA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Brazil posted a $6.6 billion trade surplus in August, official data showed on Tuesday, as the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic led to yet another steep decline in imports.
Exports totaled $17.7 billion and imports were $11.1 billion, the economy ministry said, adding that the accumulated January-August surplus of $36.6 billion was up from a $32.2 billion surplus in the same period last year.
August’s surplus was almost exactly in line with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists for a $6.7 billion surplus, and was sharply up from the $4.1 billion surplus in the same month last year.
In the first seven months of the year, the total value of Brazil’s trade with the rest of the world was $240.7 billion, compared with $266.4 billion in the same period last year, the economy ministry said.
Exports totaling $138.6 billion were down around 7%, not accounting for working days or price changes, while imports of $102 billion were down 13% on a similar basis.
Official data earlier on Tuesday showed that international trade was one of the few areas of Latin America’s biggest economy that did not slump and actually added to growth in the second quarter, as exports rose 1.8% and imports fell a record 13.2%.
According to Goldman Sachs, this added a net 216 basis points to growth in the period, although heavy declines in most other sectors led to an overall 9.7% slump in gross domestic product.
The economy ministry’s latest 2020 trade surplus forecast is $55.4 billion, with the deep recession squeezing imports and a weak currency lifting exports slightly.
That is much higher than the central bank’s forecast of a $39 billion surplus, and would be some 35% larger than last year’s surplus of $40.8 billion. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)
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