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Brazil’s trade surplus narrowed to its smallest in a decade for the month of April as imports jumped to their highest level on record for that period.
The trade surplus fell to $881 million in April, from a surplus of $2 billion in March and $1.86 billion a year earlier, the Trade Ministry said in a report published today on its website. The median estimate of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a surplus of $300 million.
Imports were $18.69 billion in April, the highest for that month and above the $18.31 billion a year earlier. Exports fell to $19.57 billion in April from $20.91 billion in March and $20.17 billion a year earlier.
The real, which reached a 12-year high against the dollar last year, helped fuel a trade deficit for manufactured goods of $92.5 billion in 2011. Brazil’s central bank has lowered the benchmark interest rate in six straight meetings to 9 percent, which contributed to a weakening the currency.
Since the end of February, the currency has declined 11 percent against the dollar, the most of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The real declined 0.7 percent to 1.9209 per U.S. dollar at 4:30 p.m. Brasilia time.
In the first four months of the year, the trade surplus totaled $3.3 billion.
Economists expect a trade surplus of $19.2 billion in 2012 and of $14.5 billion in 2013, according to an April 27 central bank survey.
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