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The first half of 2013 has seen the worst economic figures recorded in any six-month period in 18 years, according to the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade.
Exports from Brazil amounted to $114.5 billion, down 4.8 per cent from the same period in 2012, while imports reached $117.5 billion, a record-high.
The government said the disappointing results were due to financial problems in developed countries, and an accounting delay that let the cost of some late 2012 oil imports to appear in the 2013 accounts.
However, Brazil swung to its biggest monthly trade surplus of the year in June posting a $2.39 billion trade surplus last month.
According to the median estimate in a survey by the Brazilian Agencia Estado news agency, this was better than the $2 billion figure expected by economists.
Last year, Brazil had its worst trade performance in a decade, with a trade surplus of $19.43 billion, down 34.7 per cent from the previous year.