UPDATE 2-Brazil trade surplus grows in March on exports

* Brazil posts trade surplus of $1.55 billion in March

* Brazil trade surplus above expectations

* Exports grow faster than imports

(Recasts, updates with quote)

BRASILIA, April 1 (Reuters) – Brazil’s trade surplus in
March widened more than expected as exports outpaced imports
due to global demand and higher commodities prices.

Brazil posted a trade surplus (BRTBAL=ECI: Quote, Profile, Research) of $1.55 billion
in March, the trade ministry said on Friday.

That compared to a $1.2 billion surplus in February and
$673 million surplus in March 2010.

It was the second consecutive month Brazil’s trade balance
improved, providing some relief after robust domestic demand
and a strong currency had triggered a flood of imports and
eroded the trade balance.

The country was expected to post a surplus of $1.3 billion,
according to the median forecast of 13 economists surveyed by
Reuters. Estimates ranged from $500 million to $2.3 billion.

A surge in the price of commodities and a recovery of the
global economy were the main reasons for an export recovery,
said Roberto Padovani, chief Brazil strategist at WestLB.

Brazil is a major exporter of food and mineral commodities,
including soybeans, iron ore and beef.

Still, imports were still growing at a fast pace with
industry struggling to keep up with local demand, Padovani
said.

Imports in March rose to $17.7 billion from $15.5 billion
in the previous month, while exports jumped to $19.3 billion
from $16.7 billion.

Brazil’s strong real (BRBY: Quote, Profile, Research) has kept the trade balance
under pressure, by cheapening imports, while making it
difficult for local industries to sell their exports.
(Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa in Brasilia and Vanessa
Stelzer in Sao Paulo; Editing by Raymond Colitt and Kenneth
Barry)

UPDATE 2-Brazil trade surplus grows in March on exports