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Brazil's trade surplus widens to $6.06 billion in April

Brazil posted a trade surplus of $6.06 billion in April, the Economy Ministry said on Thursday, wider than the previous month but just shy of the median $6.7 billion surplus forecast in a poll of economists.

It was the second largest surplus ever recorded for the month of April and the biggest monthly surplus so far this year, a result of exports totaling $19.69 billion and imports of $13.63 billion.

Compared to April last year, Brazil’s trade surplus rose 2.3 percent.

Exports in April were led by sales of commodities, manufactured goods and semi-manufactured goods, while imports of capital goods and consumer goods fell 10 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively, the Economy Ministry said.

The total surplus for the first four months of 2019 stood at $16.58 billion, down 8.7 percent from the $18.165 billion registered in the same period a year ago thanks to a steeper fall in exports than imports.

In the 12 months to April, Brazil’s trade surplus was $57.07 billion, down 10.5 percent from the $63.79 billion surplus posted in the 12 months to April last year.

All else being equal, a widening trade surplus boosts economic growth, and a narrowing surplus or deficit is a drag on growth. Brazil’s central bank cut its 2019 growth forecast in March to 2.0 percent from 2.4 percent, noting that net trade is expected to shave 0.2 percentage points off overall growth.