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Brazil Economy - May 2017

Source: OPEC 5/24/2017, Location: South America

The trade surplus of Brazil increased by 43% y-o-y in April reaching $6.96 billion. Imports increased by $10.7 billion, while exports posted $17.68 billion increase due to the large increase in the export of basic products. Iron ore exports had the biggest increase, rising by 87.5%, followed by crude oil and copper. Exports of manufactured and semi-manufactured goods also increased. Total exports to China increased by 46.8% y-o-y during January–April 2017.

The Brazilian real depreciated by 0.27% m-o-m vs. the US dollar in April. Consumer price inflation eased from 4.7% y-o-y in February to 4.6% in March, the lowest reading since September 2010. This downward inflationary path left some room for the central bank to continue reducing its benchmark interest rate to 11.25% in April from March’s 12.25%. The unemployment rate for the fifth month in a row in March posting 13.7%.

Brazil’s Markit Manufacturing PMI stood in the expansion territory in April for the first time since January 2015. The index posted 50.1 in April, up from 49.6 in March. The survey showed that production increased for the second month in a row. Manufacturers increased their purchasing activities for the first time since January 2015. New orders also showed continued growth, while employment continued to fall for the 26th consecutive month, although at its slowest pace. After 25 consecutive months of contraction, business conditions in Brazil’s services sector finally returned to the growth territory in April, according to Markit Brazil Services PMI. The index rose to 50.3 in April, up from 47.7 in March. The survey highlighted solid growth in new orders received by service providers, increasing at its quickest pace since February 2015. The inflation rate eased to lower levels, thus reducing the positive marginal effect on consumer sentiment and bringing the issue of high unemployment to the forefront. The consumer confidence index fell in April to 81.8 from 85.3 in March.

Brazil’s GDP is currently anticipated to show cyclical but minor growth of around 0.5% y-o-y in 2017. Positive signals from both the manufacturing and services sector started to accumulate for the third month in a row, supporting a return-to-growth view.

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