São Paulo – Sales of Brazilians products to the Arab countries dropped 18.6% in May over the same month of last year, according to data from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC), compiled by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. The decline concerns revenues, which went from USD 1.1 billion in May 2015 to USD 894.9 million last month.

In volume, sales decline was even sharper in the period at 28.6%. In the fifth month of 2015, 3.9 million tons were exported, with last May registering 2.8 million tons, that is, minus 1.1 million tons. The sharper decline in quantity in comparison to revenues means that, overall, there was an increase in the prices of the products exported.

The Arab Chamber’s CEO, Michel Alaby, says that sales of ore and sugar, two of the main products of the trade balance between Brazil and the Arab world, had great impact in the decline. He also points out that the region did carry out before May the buildup of storage through imports due to Ramadan, Islam’s holy month. Ramadan started on June 6 this year. In this period, followers of Islam fast during the day and on sunset have abundant and collective meals.

Among the main categories of products exported by Brazil to the Arab world, the five leading ones declined: animals and related products, processed food, mineral products, vegetables and related products, and chemicals and related products. Among these five, the negative highlight is sugar, with USD 211.4 million in sales, a decline of 22% in May of this year over the same month in 2015. The export of mineral products declined 30.4% to USD 76.8 million. Meats, other important product in the trade balance, registered a decline of 1% in sales to USD 330.32 million.

The five largest buyers of Brazilian products among Arab countries in May were Saudi Arabia, with USD 213.8 million, the United Arab Emirates, with USD 127.1 million, Egypt, with USD 117.7 million, Algeria, with USD 96.5 million, and Oman, with USD 69 million. All of them bought less in May in comparison to the same month in the previous year. The United Arab Emirates and Egypt registered the sharpest declines, 43.4% and 33%, respectively.

From January to May, revenues by Brazilian exports to the Arab market declined, 7.14%¨in revenues and 22.02% in volume, but a milder fall than May by itself. Brazil exported 13.6 million tons to the region, with revenues of USD 4.3 million.

Brazilian imports of Arab products also declined, 15.7% in May and 13.9% in the first five months of the year. It registered USD 520.3 million last month and USD 2.2 billion from January to May. The decline was drives especially by oil and by-products. Imports of chemicals and related products, category that includes fertilizers, increased significantly in both periods.