Population (2019): 211 million
GDP (2019): US$ 1.84 trillion
World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2019): 124
Bilateral trade (2019-20): US$ 7.04 billion
Largest Latin American Economy
Brazil has a population of 211 million people, making it the world’s fifth most populous nation. Its economy is the largest in Latin America and ninth largest in the world. The resource-rich country is estimated to become the fifth largest economy in the world by 20502. Beyond that, Brazil is an ideal bridge to Latin America, with many companies using it as a way to reach the region’s huge middle class population.
Brazil has one of the biggest consumer markets in the world for goods and services, including banking and e-commerce. Its growing middle class makes up more than half its population. More than 60 India companies operate in Brazil’s consumer sectors such as education, food products and info-communications technology.
Rise of the Digital Economy
Beyond the traditional economy, the country is embarking on a digitalisation drive that is driven by the private sector. Large banks, insurance, healthcare companies, retailers are investing heavily in technology and Brazil is considered a key startup hub of Latin America, with the country having already produced Unicorns such as 99Taxi, having the largest technology entrepreneurship hub (Cubo), and being home to one of the most vibrant agri-tech hubs in the world.
While predominantly agri-commodity driven, the economy is transforming itself through large-scale infrastructure development through the government’s Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) programme. The oil & gas sector is also embracing foreign competition with the lowering of traditionally high local content requirements.
Latin America has a Gross Domestic Product of US$10.58 trillion , which is more than twice that of ASEAN’s1. The huge and growing population of over 600 million people in the region is taking to e-commerce, with over two-thirds of the population (139 million) owning smartphones and on average spending 9 hours a day on the internet, outstripping that of the average American user (6 hours). E-commerce penetration in Brazil has increased to 6%, a higher penetration rate than other fast developing economies like India and Russia2. This is set to grow Latin America’s e-commerce market from US$59 billion (S$80 billion) in 2017 to US$118 billion (S$159 billion) in 2021. The artificial intelligence (AI) sector is growing fast, with AI technologies being used across consumer, enterprise, and government markets. The AI sector is projected to increase exponentially from US$95 million (S$128 million) in 2017 to US$2.1 billion (S$2.8 billion) in 2025.
If you want to enter the huge Latin American market, consider starting with Brazil, the largest and most tech-savvy market in the region.
Brazil is seen as the leading innovation and e-commerce hub in the region. However, the local digital market is just taking off and in-market solutions are lacking. If you are in the digital technology space, there are tremendous opportunities for you to seize first mover advantage to meet increasing demand for technological solutions in Brazil’s private sector.
There is demand for digital solutions in Brazil’s e-commerce, fintech and healthcare sectors. In the area of fintech, banks are seeking solutions (including AI) to improve their operational efficiency, as well as to provide the 60 million unbanked Brazilians with online/mobile banking, payment and remittance services. The healthcare industry is looking for ways to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery and provide more affordable healthcare for patients.
By offering more cost-efficient, niche solutions that can meet the specialised needs of these different sectors, you are likely to have an edge over larger competitors. India’s well-respected brand and reputation for data privacy and reliability will also stand you in good stead.
Oil and Gas (O&G)
Brazil ranks seventh in the world for crude oil production and first in Latin America for natural gas reserves5.
In its 2018-2022 Business and Management Plan, state-linked petroleum giant Petrobras estimated US$74.6 billion (S$100.7 billion) worth of upcoming investments, 81% of which is earmarked for exploration and production.
Recent discovery of vast offshore and deepwater reserves prompted the Brazil government to relax its regulations for the oil industry in 2017, with the aim to encourage research and development, boost foreign investment, and lower business costs. With the planned drilling of over 90 Petrobas-funded exploratory wells over the next 5 years (currently 49 wells online as of May 2019), there will be a marked increase in oil production. This development has attracted a following of large investors interested in entering into partnership with the oil giant regarding the lucrative pre-salt sea blocks6.
Several India companies with the capabilities sought by Brazil’s exploration and production segment are operating in Brazil’s large-scale shipyards today. Players in the marine and offshore engineering industry can also look out for opportunities in rig-building, ship conversion, module fabrication, supply of offshore service vessels and subsea engineering.
Brazil launched the Programme for Partnerships and Investment (PPI) in 2016 to bridge the country’s huge gaps in infrastructure, improve access to utilities, and create new jobs. It also included plans to privatise sanitation and power assets.
The Brazilian government has since made several strides forward, with plans to launch dredging and land infrastructure starting from 20197. This has opened up opportunities for India companies in the following areas:
Airport – A bidding announcement in 2018 was issued for 30-year concession of 12 airports in the Northeast, Southeast and Mid-Western regions.
Port – Brazil’s ports are in need of investment to increase its capacity to meet growing demand, reflected in an earlier announcement to national congress in 2019, with the intention of expanding seaport infrastructure capacity by 11.25 million tons/year. You can explore taking part in expansion projects for existing p/orts or investing in new ports in the country.
Bus and rapid transit systems – Cities such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador are looking at expanding their bus and rapid transit systems with plans to construct and maintain road infrastructure comprising around 5,000 km worth of highways. If your company has expertise and experience in developing large-scale electronics, urban transit and security systems, you can explore opportunities in this sector.
Water – You can consider investing in projects such as build-own-operate and build-operate-transfer, or by providing consulting services, equipment or water technology solutions.
E-government – Firms with expertise in e-government project consulting and feasibility studies will find demand from the Brazilian authorities at the federal, state and municipal levels. The local government is looking to e-services to facilitate infrastructure development and trade.
Agribusiness is one of Brazil’s largest economic sectors. With the value of the agriculture industry grossing a massive 3.3 Billion USD in the last quarter of 2018 alone, Brazil ranks amongst the powerhouses of the global agriculture market8. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, coffee, frozen concentrate orange juice, poultry, soybean, sugar and tobacco. It is also a major producer of corn, pork and cotton. Over the next ten years, Brazil’s food supply will grow above the global average.
One attractive investment opportunity is in the area of agriculture technology. There is demand for technological innovation to raise agriculture productivity sustainably, without damaging Brazil’s natural environment. Increasingly discerning consumers are also more conscious about food nutrition and sustainable food sources. You can explore playing a role in Brazil’s sustainable agribusiness by providing low-carbon production technologies.
Brazil is one of the most important trading partners of India in the entire LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) region. India-Brazil bilateral trade has increased substantially in the last two decades. However, the global drop in commodity prices and the economic recession in Brazil started in 2015 affected Brazil’s overall trade. Consequently, the negative impact was felt in bilateral trade as well when it came down to US$7.9 Billion and US$5.64 Billion in years 2015 and 2016 respectively. However, with a slight recovery in Brazilian economy in 2017, the bilateral trade between India and Brazil rose to US$7.6 Billion with growth of 34.71%, the highest growth among the top 10 trading partners of Brazil. Indian exports to Brazil and imports from Brazil stood at US$ 2.94 Billion and US$ 4.66 billion respectively with India having a trade deficit of USD 1.7 Billion. In 2019, India was in trade surplus with Brazil, with a surplus of US$1.07 billion. In the ranking for the largest trading partners of Brazil, India rose to 10th position from 11th position in year 2016. Diesel imports from India, which used to form 40-50% of the export basket, has seen a continuous slump since 2014. It further declined in both volume and value terms in year 2017 when India exported 76 million kg worth USD 43 Million (1.46% share) as against 465 Million kg worth USD 169 Million in the last year, resulting in a humongous decline of -74.67% in dollar terms y-o-y. This resulted in slipping to 8th spot as top exporters of diesel oil to Brazil from 2nd position in year 2016. The other prominent export items from India were organic chemicals and pharmaceutical products valued at US$1.19 Billion, Man-made filaments worth US$249 million and Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances worth US$247 Million. The other important export items included textile products (synthetic filaments/fibres, cotton, apparels, accessories etc.) which amounted to US$ 454 million. Brazilian exports to India were also weighed in favour of Petroleum products, mainly crude oil of worth US$1.5 Billion. India also imported cane sugar worth US$924 Million, copper ore worth 482 million, soya oil worth US$ 377 million and gold worth US$ 157 million.
Brazil’s overall trade with the world showed signs of recovery with 14% growth in 2017. This also affected India-Brazil bilateral trade positively showing a remarkable growth of 35% in the year which was also the highest bilateral trade growth amongst the top trading partners of Brazil despite of the fact that a negligible quantity of diesel oil, which used to form between 40-50% of India’s total exports to Brazil, was exported to Brazil during the period. The improved trade also resulted in India’s gaining a spot to rise to 10th position among the top trading partners of Brazil.
A plethora of sectors have seen investments between India and Brazil. While the Brazilian companies have invested in automobiles, IT, mining, energy, biofuels, footwear sectors in India, the Indian companies have invested in such sectors as IT, Pharmaceutical, Energy, agri-business, mining, engineering and automobiles. On 21 February, 2018, an important business event organized in the Embassy brought together prominent businesses from both sides for a B2B interaction exploring the opportunities of enhancing bilateral investments.
Chemical, vehicles, pharmaceutical products, mineral fuels, aluminium, electrical machinery, etc.
|Product Code||Product Label||India’s export to Brazil in 2019 (in US$ million)|
|38||Miscellaneous chemical products||722.912|
|27||Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral . . .||510.635|
|84||Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers; parts thereof||331.07|
|87||Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof||321.566|
|54||Man-made filaments; strip and the like of man-made textile materials||211.361|
|32||Tanning or dyeing extracts; tannins and their derivatives; dyes, pigments and other colouring . . .||141.431|
|76||Aluminium and articles thereof||109.848|
|85||Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television . . .||109.204|
According to the ITC Trade Map, India has an untapped trade potential of US$ 2.3 billion with Brazil. The products with greatest export potential from India to Brazil are Other organic chemicals, Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products, for retail sale, and aluminium not alloyed, unwrought. Other organic chemicals show the largest absolute difference between potential and actual exports in value terms, leaving room to realize additional exports worth $170.1 mn.
|Product code||Description||Export potential|
|29XXXX||Other organic chemicals||US$ 170.1 million|
|3004Xb||Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products, for retail sale||US$ 103.2 million|
|760110||Aluminium, not alloyed, unwrought||US$ 38.2 million|
|8703XX||Motor vehicles for the transport of persons, nes||US$71.9 million|
|871410||Parts & accessories of motorcycles, mopeds||US$ 30.3 million|
India’s imports from Brazil include machinery, mineral fuels, metals, pharmaceuticals, fuels, etc.
|Product Code||Product Label||India’s imports from Brazil in 2019 (in US$ million)|
|27||Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral||1,002.42|
|71||Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad||385.32|
|17||Sugars and sugar confectionery||256.53|
|15||Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal||226.18|
|84||Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers; parts thereof||171.94|
|26||Ores, slag and ash||116.26|
|72||Iron and steel||100.17|
|44||Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal||80.36|
Honorary Consulate of India in Minas Gerais
Commercial/ Cultural (Maria Luiza and Ana Beatriz): firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: (31) 3264-5444
Other telephones you may contact: 19 98293 6536/ 31 99194 1811
Honorary Consulate General of India in Rio de Janeiro
Commercial/ Cultural (Letícia and Adriano): email@example.com
Honorary Consul General of India (Leonardo Ananda): firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +55 (21) 9 7405-0285
Other telephones you may contact: 31 9 9815 6554/ 34 9 8883 1312/ 24 98117 7346