Imports of shoes in Brazil grew 54.7% from January to September this year as against the same period in 2007. The Brazilian market purchased abroad a total of 30.8 million pairs, against 19.9 million in the first nine months in 2007. In terms of value, purchases of shoes in other countries totaled US$ 231.9 million, growth of 52.6%.
According to figures disclosed by the Brazilian Association of Shoe Manufacturers (Abicalçados), up to now the volume imported has already exceeded the total for 2007, when the country imported 28.6 million pairs. The main foreign suppliers were China, with sales of 26.7 million pairs, Vietnam, with 2.3 million and Indonesia, with 591,200 pairs.
Among the 15 main exporters of shoes to the Brazilian market is Morocco, which sold 5,000 pairs from January to September, against 2,000 in the same period last year. The Arab country exported to Brazil the equivalent to US$ 283,000, against US$ 77,000 in the first nine months of 2007.
According to a press statement disclosed by the Abicalçados, the president of the organization, Milton Cardoso, said that "the activity of the domestic market, which registered growth of 17% in consumption of shoes and textiles, reflected positively mostly for the Asian industry, from where most of the imported products came."
Despite the great growth of imports, the sector trade balance is still generating a surplus for Brazil. Foreign sales from the country generated US$ 1.45 billion from January to September, an increase of just 0.3% over the same period last year. The volume shipped, in turn, dropped 3.7%, from 132.6 million pairs to 127.6 million.
The main buyer of Brazilian shoes was the United States, which purchased the equivalent to 29.8 million pairs, generating revenues of US$ 380 million, equivalent to 26.2% of the total. In second place came the United Kingdom, to where Brazil shipped eight million pairs of shoes for the value of US$ 197 million. Then came Argentina, with 13.4 million pairs and revenues of US$ 152 million.
According to the vice president at Abicalçados, Ricardo Wirth, the figures do not yet reflect the global financial crisis. This is due to the fact that the shoe industry, which produces according to fashion seasons, should only fully feel the effects in January, when shipments of the orders that are being place now should be made.