Brazil ag commodities exports to hit record high this year -minister

SAO PAULO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Brazil is on track to export a record $100 billion worth of agricultural products this year as demand for staple commodities like beef and soybeans from the South American country remain strong, the government said on Wednesday.

The amount represents a 4.2 percent rise from last year and is slightly higher than the previous record of $99.97 billion in 2013, government trade balance data show.

In a statement, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi was quoted as saying the agribusiness sector is largely responsible for Brazil’s recent economic recovery. He added the country’s farmers and companies had been aiming for the $100 billion export mark for some time.

“Agricultural exports account for about half of Brazil’s total foreign sales and about one fourth of the country’s economy,” Eumar Novacki, the ministry’s executive secretary, said at the same event.

Brazil’s gross domestic product slumped 3.5 percent in 2016 and rose by 1 percent last year. In 2018, growth is expected to be around 1.4 percent, the agriculture ministry’s statement said. (Reporting by Ana Mano Editing by Marguerita Choy)