Brazil’s trade surplus soared to a record U.S. 47.69 billion, the country’s trade ministry’s statistics revealed on Monday.
Amid political turmoil, a recession and a weaker real, exports boomed as imports were slashed in 2016. The previous record of $46.45 billion was in 2006, Reuters reported.
Brazil’s new record was more than double 2015’s trade surplus of $19.68 billion. Brazil’s 2016 exports totaled $185.24 billion, compared with imports worth $137.55 billion, according to the trade ministry.
The trade surplus occurred even though exports of many agricultural commodities fell, with the exceptions of pork and sugar, after a crippling drought devastated crops last year.
Corn grain exports fell the most, down 26 percent. Exports of soybeans dropped 8.2 percent, along with corn on the cob, which fell 13.2 percent compared to the previous year, the trade ministry said.
Soybean bran exports fell 11 percent, along with beef, down 7 percent and chicken, which decreased 5 percent.
However, pork exports increased 15 percent and exports of raw sugar increased 40 percent.
Brazil posted hefty increases in semi-manufactured and manufactured goods, according to the trade ministry’s statistics.
Exports of gold ore increased 31 percent, while lumber jumped 17 percent. Increases in exports of manufactured goods included: oil rigs, (87 percent), cars, (38 percent), and cargo vehicles, 27 percent).
Brazil’s exports to China, its biggest buyer, slid 1.2 percent to U.S. $37.4 billion due to the decrease in soybean exports, according to the trade ministry. The U.S. was the second-largest customer, buying $23.2 billion in exports from Brazil. Argentina was third, at $13.4 billion.
The drop in ag exports contributed to a decline in exports to some regions, according to the trade ministry. Although exports to Argentina were up 4 percent, exports fell to MercoSur, the Latin American trading bloc. Countries in MercoSur include Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Paraguay. Venezuela was suspended as a member on Dec. 1 of 2016.