Brazil’s Top 10 Exports

Brazil’s Top 10 Exports


The biggest country by population and land area for both South America and Latin America, Brazil shipped an estimated US$217.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017.

That dollar amount reflects a 17.5% gain year over year since 2016, however is still -10% less than the $242 billion in Brazilian exports five years earlier during 2013.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Brazil’s exported goods plus services represent 11.8% of total Brazilian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, some 40% of Brazilian exports by value is delivered to Asian countries while about 21% is sold to European importers. Brazil ships another 18% worth of goods to Latin America (excluding Mexico) plus Caribbean nations. Brazilian exports to North American clients totaled 16% with roughly 4% delivered in Africa.

Given Brazil’s population of 207.4 million people, its total $217.7 billion during 2017 exports translates to roughly $1,050 for every resident in South America’s largest country.

Brazil’s unemployment rate was 11.8% as of December 2017 according to Trading Economics.

Brazil’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Brazilian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Brazil.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Brazil’s most valuable exported product are soya beans followed by iron ores and concentrates, sugar, crude oil then poultry meat.

  1. Oil seeds: US$26 billion (11.9% of total exports)
  2. Ores, slag, ash: $22.4 billion (10.3%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $18.7 billion (8.6%)
  4. Vehicles : $14.7 billion (6.8%)
  5. Meat: $14 billion (6.4%)
  6. Machinery including computers: $13.8 billion (6.4%)
  7. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $11.6 billion (5.3%)
  8. Iron, steel: $10.8 billion (4.9%)
  9. Woodpulp: $6.4 billion (2.9%)
  10. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $5.4 billion (2.5%)

Brazil’s top 10 exports accounted for about two-thirds (66%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-growing export category via a 61.7% increase over 2016, followed by ores, slag and ash’s 41.6% gain.

In third place were Brazilian exports of oil seeds which posted a 36.4% boost in value year over year. Close behind were Brazilian shipments of iron and steel (up 36.4%) and vehicles (up 34.2%).

There was one decline among Brazil’s top 10 export categories, specifically a -2.6% drop for food industry waste and animal fodder.


Overall, Brazil achieved a $67 billion trade surplus during 2017 up by 40.5% from its positive trade balance in 2016.

The following types of Brazilian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Oil seeds: US$25.7 billion (Up by 33.6% since 2016)
  2. Ores, slag, ash: $21.2 billion (Up by 42.4%)
  3. Meat: $13.6 billion (Up by 10.3%)
  4. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $11.5 billion (Up by 9.2%)
  5. Iron, steel: $8.8 billion (Up by 35.4%)
  6. Woodpulp: $6.2 billion (Up by 16.6%)
  7. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $5.1 billion (Down by -3.1%)
  8. Coffee, tea, spices: $4.9 billion (Down by -4.8%)
  9. Vehicles : $3.5 billion (Up by 243.5%)
  10. Cereals: $3.1 billion (Up by 74.4%)

Brazil has highly positive net exports in the international trade of oil seeds which is often used for vegetable oil and related products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Brazil’s strong competitive advantages under the oil seed product category.


Below are exports from Brazil that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Brazil’s goods trail Brazilian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$17.3 billion (Up by 26.2% since 2016)
  2. Fertilizers: -$7.1 billion (Up by 22.9%)
  3. Organic chemicals: -$6.1 billion (Down by -6.2%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: -$5.3 billion (Up by 2.3%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$3.9 billion (Up by 0.7%)
  6. Machinery including computers: -$3.6 billion (Down by -62.5%)
  7. Other chemical goods: -$3.2 billion (Up by 6.6%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.9 billion (Up by 19.2%)
  9. Mineral fuels including oil: -$2.8 billion (Down by -20.6%)
  10. Rubber, rubber articles: -$1.3 billion (Up by 47.3%)

Brazil has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for assembled electronic equipment including consumer electronics.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Brazil’s competitive disadvantages in the international electronics market, but also represent key opportunities for Brazil to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.


Brazilian Export Companies

Twenty-five Brazilian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Brazilian companies that Forbes included:

  • Braskem (specialized chemicals)
  • BRF-Brasil Foods (food processing)
  • Cosan (food processing)
  • CSN (iron, steel)
  • Embraer (aerospace)
  • Itaúsa (industrials conglomerate)
  • JBS (food processing)
  • Metalurgica Gerdau (iron, steel)
  • Petrobras (oil, gas)
  • Vale (iron, steel)
  • WEG (electrical equipment)

Wikipedia lists many of the larger international trade players from Brazil, plus:

  • Grupo Pão de Açúcar (retail including online)
  • Oi (telecommunications)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of Brazilian exporters:

  • Afil Import Export E Comercio (garlic, flaxseed, corn)
  • American Safety Razor Brazil (razor blades, adipic acid)
  • Hapag Lloyd Brazil (containers, siliceous earths, white cement)
  • Inergy Automotive Systems Do Brazil (combustion engine internal pumps, gas station external pumps)
  • Vanguard Logistics Services Do Brazil (transmission belts, rubber/plastic molds, malt beer)

Brazil’s capital city is Brasilia, although many tourists still assume flamboyant Rio de Janeiro is the country’s capital–at least for entertainment purposes.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Brazil’s Top 10 Imports, Brazil’s Top Trade Partners, Highest Value Brazilian Export Products, Top Brazilian Trade Balances and Brazil’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 4, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 18, 2016

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 18, 2016

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 4, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 4, 2018

Wikipedia, Brazil. Accessed on March 17, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Brazil. Accessed on April 18, 2016

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 18, 2016

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on August 24, 2015