Brazil imported US$181.2 billion worth of goods sourced from around the globe in 2018, down by -20.9% since 2014 but up by 20.2% from 2017 to 2018.
Brazilian imports represent 1% of total global imports totaling an estimated $17.788 trillion for 2017.
From a continental perspective, 35.9% of Brazil’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 23% of imports sold to Brazil while 20.1% worth of goods originated from North American exporters. Smaller percentages came from Latin America plus the Caribbean (16.7%) but excluding Mexico and 3.6% furnished by sources in Africa.
Given Brazil’s population of 208.8 million people, its total $181.2 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $870 in yearly product demand from every person in the South American nation.
Brazil’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Brazil’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Brazil.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$26.2 billion (14.5% of total imports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $21.8 billion (12%)
- Machinery including computers: $19.1 billion (10.5%)
- Vehicles: $14 billion (7.7%)
- Organic chemicals: $10.6 billion (5.8%)
- Ships, boats: $9.9 billion (5.4%)
- Fertilizers: $8.6 billion (4.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $7.3 billion (4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $7.2 billion (4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $5.5 billion (3%)
Brazil’s top 10 imports approached three-quarters (71.9%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
High capital cost category ships and boats was the fastest-growing import product category, increasing in value by 5,391% from 2017 to 2018. Imported organic chemicals placed second via its 25.6% gain followed by vehicles bought by Brazil which rose 24.8% year over year then the mineral fuels including oil category thanks to its 21.7% appreciation.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2018, Brazilian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related goods.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$12.9 billion (up 8.9% from 2017)
- Crude oil: $5 billion (up 70%)
- Petroleum gases: $3.7 billion (up 52.3%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $3.4 billion (down -0.3%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $622.3 million (up 38.9%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $300.6 million (up 36.6%)
- Electrical energy: $142.2 million (up 0.2%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $67.9 million (up 84.3%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $40.7 million (up 2.6%)
- Tar pitch, coke: $34.7 million (up 50.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Brazilian purchases of high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 84.3%), crude oil (up 70%) and petroleum gases (up 52.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Brazilian businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Brazilian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment including consumer electronics.
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: US$4.6 billion (up 12.1% from 2017)
- Phone system devices including smartphones: $4.3 billion (down -2.1%)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: $2 billion (down -2.3%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $1 billion (up 11.3%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $1 billion (up 12%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $910.2 million (up 9.1%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $808.2 million (up 8.1%)
- Electric motors, generators: $655.6 million (up 13.7%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $478.5 million (up 11%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $460.3 million (up 4.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Brazilian purchases of electric motors and generators (up 13.7%), integrated circuits and microassemblies (up 12.1%) then lower-voltage switches and fuses (up 12%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Brazilian businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Brazilian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: US$1.3 billion (up 56% from 2017)
- Computers, optical readers: $1.2 billion (up 21%)
- Piston engine parts: $1.1 billion (up 21.6%)
- Computer parts, accessories: $1.1 billion (up 5.3%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $1 billion (down -0.5%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $987.8 million (up 34.8%)
- Printing machinery: $884.4 million (up 3.5%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $834.5 million (up 9.6%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $672.8 million (up 10.9%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $670.4 million (up 5.8%)
Among these import subcategories, Brazilian purchases of taps, valves and similar appliances (up 56%), miscellaneous machinery (up 34.8%) then piston engine parts (up 21.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Brazilian businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Brazilian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of road vehicles-related imports.
- Automobile parts/accessories: US$5.9 billion (up 7.8% from 2017)
- Cars: $4.2 billion (up 41.7%)
- Trucks: $2.8 billion (up 43%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $578.5 million (up 22%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $124.3 million (up 34.9%)
- Automobile bodies: $102.8 million (up 29.3%)
- Tractors: $90.1 million (up 64.7%)
- Armored vehicles, tanks: $88.1 million (up 355.1%)
- Trailers: $53.2 million (up 27%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $22.1 million (down -14.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Brazilian purchases of armored vehicles including tanks (up 355.1%), tractors (up 64.7%) and trucks (up 43%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentages within parenthesis clearly show where the declining demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Brazilian businesses and consumers.
See also Brazil’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Brazil’s Top Trading Partners, Brazil’s Top 10 Exports and Top South American Export Countries
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on January 21, 2019
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on January 21, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on January 21, 2019