The 42.7% import growth in July was boosted by the nationalization of oil rigs after the government announced changes to the industry’s tax rules. In July, there was a change in Repetro that allows a tax benefit for assets used in oil exploration held in Brazil. Until then, the benefits were only granted if these goods were abroad.
In total, imports of platforms impacted imports by US $ 3.3 billion in July, raising value from abroad in July to US $ 18.643 billion, the highest value since 2014. According to the director of Statistics and Support to Exports from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (Mdic), Herlon Brandão, the expectation is that the change in Repetro will have an impact of R $ 32.7 billion this year (about US $ 8.7 billion).
Last month, an accounting operation was carried out with a Petrobras (P-69) platform that was exported and imported in the same month to gain access to tax benefits, as it was produced in a transitional period between the rules. The platform was exported for US $ 1.2 billion and immediately imported for US $ 1.6 billion, raising exports by that amount and reducing the trade balance by US $ 400 million. A second platform was also bought from China for $ 1.6 billion, which also helped inflate imports.
Despite the estimated impact for the year, Brandão said that the volume is not enough to change the forecast of trade surplus in the year, which is US $ 50 billion.
Iron ore – In the midst of the trade war between the United States and China and the market defaults, Brazilian iron ore and iron / steel semimanufactured exports grew in July.
The main input used in steel production, the sale of iron ore abroad totaled R $ 1.814 billion in July, up 47%. According to Brandão, this was mainly due to the price variation of the product, which increased 33.9%, while the quantity increased by 9.8% compared to June 2017.
“International uncertainties have raised the price of iron ore,” he said. Exports of iron / steel semi-manufactured goods increased 35.1% from June 2017 to June this year, reaching R $ 427 million.
In June, with the slowdown in Argentina’s economy, passenger car sales fell by 35.7%. In the year, exports of the product accumulated decrease of 11.1%. This helped to reduce the sale of manufactured goods by 6.2%, which was on the rise.
Strike – According to Brandão, the truckers strike had only “residual” impact on foreign trade in June, with the situation practically normalized. On the other hand, there was a 0.5% increase in the purchase of fuels in July, a much lower level than the one registered during the year, of 20.8%.
In June, when a subsidy program for diesel – a solution found by the government to end the transport strike – came into effect, fuel importers came to paralyze purchases from abroad fearing not to have access to the same subsidies given to Petrobras. The government, however, has ensured that treatment will be the same for local producers and importers.
Source: Diário do Comércio, 08/03/2018