Imports of chemical products had a considerable increase in September, 10.2% compared to August, and reached US$ 3.7 billion, according to a foreign trade report by the Brazilian Chemical Industry Association (Abiquim). At the same time, exports had a slight increase, of 1.5% on the same comparative basis, to US$ 871.4 million.

The most imported chemical products continue to be intermediaries for fertilizers, with foreign purchases of US$ 716.7 million, an increase of 11.1% compared to August. Thermoplastic resins were the most exported items, with US$ 103.5 million, with a drop of 13.4% compared to the immediately previous month.

According to the organization, from January to September, chemical imports totaled US$ 30.3 billion, with a drop of 9%. Exports, on the other hand, fell 14.8%, to US$ 8.3 billion.

In volume, however, imports until September were a record, with more than 37 million tons. This is equivalent to an increase of 6.9% compared to the same period last year — the 34.6 million tons of that period corresponded to the previous record.

According to Abiquim, the average price of imports dropped 14.9%, while exports fell by 19.7%, reflecting the industry's trade deficit. In nine months, the negative balance was US$ 22 billion, down 6.7%.

In the 12 months to September, however, the deficit reached US$ 30 billion, “validating month after month the expectations that, despite the serious economic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, the indicator will not, until the end of the year, be far below the results of recent years, with negative balances of US$ 29.6 billion in 2018 and US$ 31.6 billion in 2019”, according to Abiquim.

In a statement, the organisation's chief executive, Ciro Marino, says that the recent recovery in economic activity signals that the worst moment of the crisis seems to be behind us. The situation, however, is still challenging.

"If some competitive challenges can be quickly overcome, such as the regulation of the new gas market and the rebalancing of the international agenda, with trade policies based on trade facilitation, international cooperation, competitiveness and legal security of the trade defense system, we have all the potential to, in the short term, expand the use of installed capacity and continue to maintain the guarantee of full availability to meet domestic demand with national manufacturing”, he says.