Brazil’s Top 10 Exports

Brazil’s Top 10 Exports


Brazil shipped US$185.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, up by 21.1% since 2009 when effects from the Great Recession kicked in. However, the value of Brazilian exports in 2016 was down year over year by -3.1% from 2015.

Brazil’s top 10 exports accounted for 60.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Brazil’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $3.135 trillion in 2016.

Therefore, exports accounted for about 5.9% of total Brazilian economic output.

From a continental perspective, 39.8% of Brazilian exports by value are delivered to Asian countries while 20.7% are sold to European importers. Brazil ships another 18.1% worth of goods to Latin America (excluding Mexico) and Caribbean nations. Brazilian exports to North American clients totaled 15.9% with 4.2% delivered in Africa in 2016.

Given Brazil’s population of 205.8 million people, its total $185.2 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $900 for every resident in that country.

Brazil’s unemployment rate was 11.9% as of November 2016 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 2016. 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 number 1 exported product is soya beans followed by iron ores and concentrates, sugar, crude oil then poultry meat.

  1. Oil seed: US$19.6 billion (10.6% of total exports)
  2. Ores, slag, ash: $15.8 billion (8.5%)
  3. Meat: $12.7 billion (6.8%)
  4. Machinery including computers: $11.6 billion (6.3%)
  5. Mineral fuels including oil: $11.6 billion (6.3%)
  6. Vehicles : $11 billion (5.9%)
  7. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $10.6 billion (5.7%)
  8. Iron, steel: $7.9 billion (4.3%)
  9. Woodpulp: $5.6 billion (3%)
  10. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $5.5 billion (3%)

Oil seed was the fastest-growing category via a 69.1% improvement in sales from 2009 to 2016, followed by woodpulp’s 68.2% gain. In third place was Brazilian exports of machinery including computers which posted a 44.5% boost in value over the 7-year period.

Mineral fuels including oil was the only decliner among Brazil’s top 10 exports, down -28.8%.


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. Overall, Brazil achieved a $47.7 billion trade surplus for 2016.

  1. Oil seed: US$19.3 billion (Up by 68.8% since 2009)
  2. Ores, slag, ash: $14.9 billion (Up by 9%)
  3. Meat: $12.4 billion (Up by 26.8%)
  4. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $10.5 billion (Up by 23.4%)
  5. Iron, steel: $6.5 billion (Up by 44.1%)
  6. Woodpulp: $5.3 billion (Up by 72.2%)
  7. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $5.3 billion (Up by 12.1%)
  8. Coffee, tea, spices: $5.1 billion (Up by 30.5%)
  9. Aircraft, spacecraft: $3.1 billion (Up by 58.5%)
  10. Gems, precious metals: $3 billion (Up by 109.1%)

Brazil has highly positive net exports in the international trade of oil seed 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$13.7 billion (Up by 32.8% since 2009)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$9.5 billion (Down by -26.9%)
  3. Organic chemicals: -$6.5 billion (Up by 43.6%)
  4. Fertilizers: -$5.8 billion (Up by 58.8%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: -$5.2 billion (Up by 52.6%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$3.9 billion (Down by -6.7%)
  7. Mineral fuels including oil: -$3.6 billion (Up by 37.2%)
  8. Other chemical goods: -$3 billion (Up by 75.8%)
  9. Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.4 billion (Up by 21%)
  10. Manmade filaments: -$952 million (Up by 26.7%)

Brazil has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for 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 for 2015. Below is a sample of the major Brazilian companies that Forbes included:

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

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

Brazil’s capital city is Brasilia, although many tourists still view Rio de Janeiro as being the country’s capital.

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 Import 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 January 26, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on January 26, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on January 26, 2017

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

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