Brazil’s trade surplus shrank 20% to $46.67 billion last year, the smallest since 2015 ($19.5 billion), amid one of the most severe recessions in the country’s history. According to data released by the Economy Ministry total exports in 2019 were $224 billion and imports were $177.3 billion. Trade Secretary Lucas Ferraz said that surplus in 2020 could be even smaller, as strengthening domestic demand lifts overall economic growth to around 2.3% and spurs imports more than exports.
Brazil stocks jumped 2% on Thursday to begin 2020 scaling new highs. Iron ore miner Vale was one of the major drivers on Sao Paulo’s commodity-heavy Bovespa index, while the biggest boost came from financial exchange operator B3, which rose nearly 5% after announcing reduced and simplified trading fees. Brazil’s real, however, reversed early gains and lagged regional peers against a strong dollar.