Brazilian agribusiness continues on a positive growth trend. In May, exports hit US$ 15.1 billion, which represents a 13.8% increase compared to the same period in 2021. Year-to-date, the growth is 28.9%. These results mean a surplus of US$ 13.8 billion in our agricultural trade balance.
The main product in our agribusiness export line in May was soybean, with a share of 43.6% and US$ 6.6 billion sales value, which means a decrease of 2.2% compared to the same period in 2021. The second major export product was soy bran, which showed a 51% increase compared to May 2021 and US$ 1 billion worth. Fresh beef, fresh chicken meat, and cellulose complete the list of the most exported products.
Our main export destination in May 2022 was China, with a share of 35.5%, followed by the European Union (16.9%) and the United States (5.5%). Other countries also had remarkable participation: Iran (3.3%), Vietnam (2.1%), Thailand (2.1%), Algeria (2.1%), India (1.9%), Turkey (1.7%), and Indonesia (1.7%).
Some destination countries showed a significant performance in May 2022 compared to May 2021. Among these, the highlights are India (+309.2%), driven by exports of crude soy oil (an increase of US$ 214.4 million); and Iran (+274.9%), driven by sales of soybean (an increase of US$ 198.2 million) and corn (an increase of US$ 178,3 million).
Trade balance highlight: sunflower oil
Vegetable oils such as soybean, palm, and sunflower gained relevance in 2022 as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine. In this context, the conflict has mainly affected the global supply of sunflower oil, as the world’s two main producers are precisely Ukraine and Russia.
Historically, Brazil is not among the world’s main exporters of sunflower oil; yet, Brazilian sales will increase by 569.6% in 2022. Year-to-date until May, the country exported US$ 1.0 million. The result of the year’s first five months already exceeds the total exported in 2021, which was US$ 932.8 thousand. In terms of volume, sales in 2022 total 306 tons, an increase of 343.9% compared to the same period in 2021.
Besides the earnings achieved by the increase in Brazilian sunflower oil exports, products considered substitutes—such as soybean oil and palm oil—have also shown a significant increase. In the year to May, Brazilian exports of crude and refined soy oil totaled US$ 1.5 billion (+126.5% compared to the same period in 2021), while the exports of palm oil reached US$ 22.4 million (+404.8%).
It is noteworthy that Brazilian exports of these vegetable oils were also supported by the increase in international prices of the products. According to the World Bank, in May 2022, the international price of sunflower oil reached US$ 2,079 per ton, an increase of 31.2% compared to the same month in 2021.