SAO PAULO, May 4 (Reuters) - Brazil's iron ore export revenues are set to surge 60% this year and displace soybeans as the country's number one source of foreign exchange earnings for the first time in six years, Brazil's Foreign Trade Association (AEB) said on Tuesday.
The forecast $41.25 billion revenue, together with potential record soybean export volumes, means Brazil is on track to post an overall trade surplus this year of almost $80 billion, AEB Chief Executive Jose Augusto de Castro told Reuters.
The new AEB forecasts followed surging prices and strong demand from China. Most of Brazil's iron ore exports are from mining giant Vale (VALE3.SA).
"So far, I have only changed the price. It may be that volumes rise further too," said Castro, referring to his preliminary revisions.
At the end of last year, the AEB predicted that 2021 iron ore exports would reach $35.7 billion, substantially higher than the estimated $26 billion of export revenues in 2020.
In the first four months of this year, iron ore export prices rose 77.6%, while soybean export prices rose 18%, according to Economy Ministry data.
Brazilian iron ore exports fetched an average price of $129.8 per ton in April, compared with $67.6 per ton in the same month last year, the ministry said.
Together, iron ore and soy would account for more than 30% of the country's total exports this year, which the AEB estimates at $253.6 billion.
Brazil posted a $10.3 billion trade surplus in April. Year-to-date, Brazil has registered a trade surplus of $18.3 billion, double the $9 billion surplus in the first four months of 2020.
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