The region’s export total fell 0.4%, while agribusiness exports as a whole fell 8.8% over the year. The last 12 months have seen the value of Brazil’s currency fall dramatically, causing the value of its exports to plummet in dollar terms, even though volumes for many sectors have increased, especially in exports to the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia was not only the top regional market, and the seventh-largest export market overall, but one of the few which saw significant growth. In total the kingdom imported US$2.2bn-worth of Brazilian agribusiness products, up 8% from 2014. Egypt was the second biggest Middle East market at US$1.7bn, down almost 2% year-on-year.
Beef steady, poultry strong
Brazilian beef exports to the Middle East rose slightly, up 0.67% by value to US$1.03bn for 2015, or around 17% of the country’s exports, while its total beef exports fell 18%. Egypt drove a lot of the region’s performance, and was the third largest international market overall for beef, with US$661m in imports, up 8.2% year-on-year.
The Association of Brazilian Beef Exporters said it expected the country’s beef sales to recover to 2014 levels this year, following the lifting of import bans by countries such as Saudi Arabia and China. Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on Brazilian beef late last year – and shortly afterwards announced the acquisition of around 20% in Brazilian beef producer Minerva.
Poultry exports saw a 5% increase in volume, but an 11.3% fall in dollar value, according to the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA). Overall the ABPA said the poultry exports had exceeded expectations – and, while it did not break down export figures by region, did credit the Middle East as part of the sector’s strong performance.
“The international market remains booming for Brazilian exporters, who have been expanding their business, especially in the Middle East and Asia,” said Ricardo Santin, vice-president for poultry at ABPA.
Coffee and eggs up, but marginal
Brazil’s nascent egg export market saw 53.5% volume growth from 2014, albeit from a very small base. In total the country exported 18,740 tonnes of eggs in 2015, worth US$24m – an increase in revenue of more than 43%. The UAE was by far the largest market, taking 73.4% of all Brazil’s egg exports.
The figures also show significant growth from the first half of 2015, when Brazil’s egg sales to the Middle East totalled just US$6.9m.
Coffee exports to the region were an unequivocal winner, up 10% for both revenue and volume in 2015. In total the Middle East imported US$218.5m-worth of Brazilian coffee, totalling 1.5m 60kg bags. However the region remained marginal to the sector, making up only 3.5% of Brazil’s coffee exports by value.