July 28, 2020 / 1:33 PM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 2-Brazil posts record current account surplus for June, attracts portfolio inflows

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By Jamie McGeever and Isabel Versiani

BRASILIA, July 28 (Reuters) - Brazil posted a current account surplus in June for the third straight month, data showed on Tuesday, the first time this has happened since 2007, and attracted portfolio inflows for the first time since before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The current account surplus last month was $2.2 billion, the central bank said, less than the $3.8 billion economists in a Reuters poll had forecast, but a record for any June since the central bank began compiling data in 1995.

The surplus was partly driven by a widening trade surplus to $6.9 billion as the economic crisis hit imports much harder than exports, and narrowed the overall current account gap over the preceding 12 months to 2.35% of gross domestic product.

That is the narrowest deficit in just over a year, central bank figures showed.

The central bank said it revised the figures for March to an $11 million deficit from a $868 million surplus, meaning Brazil has now recorded a surplus for three consecutive months instead of four.

Brazil reversed months of portfolio outflows, attracting a net $5.5 billion into its equity and debt markets, the first inflow since January. Almost all of that, just over $5 billion, was bond inflows, the central bank said.

That reduced the net portfolio outflow so far this year to $25.9 billion.

A broader measure of portfolio flows, however, showed a slightly smaller $4.3 billion inflow in June. That brought the outflow in the first half of the year to $31.3 billion, a record since the central bank began comparable records in 1995.

Foreign direct investment in June totaled $4.75 billion, the central bank said, more than the $3.58 billion economists in a Reuters poll had predicted.

For July, the central bank said it expects a current account surplus of $500 million, and FDI of $2 billion. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever, Marcela Ayres and Isabel Versiani; Editing by Alex Richardson and Bernadette Baum)

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