The Biggest Industries In Brazil

Workers tend to a vehicle assembly line in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The automobile industry is a major component of Brazil's economy. Photo credit: Alf Ribeiro /
Workers tend to a vehicle assembly line in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The automobile industry is a major component of Brazil's economy. Photo credit: Alf Ribeiro /

Brazil’s manufacturing sector ranks as the third biggest in the Americas. The sector began in numerous workshops in the 19th-century, primarily in the country's southeast region. The workshops engaged in melting of iron and metals, production of silk, wool, soap, candles of tallow, spinning, and weaving among others and they used free laborers as well as slaves. The Alves Branco tariff facilitated the development of the national industry through capital investments. The textile industry particularly benefited from the investment as it was the country's oldest industry, but it began to decline in 1890. The period between 1840 to 1860 in Brazil was characterized by rapid industrial growth making Brazil a top producer of products such as knitted fabrics, yarn, and fibers. The establishment of the Industrial Association in 1880 was a testament to Brazil's growing industry sector. Brazil's industries account for one-third of its GDP and include consumer durables, steel and petrochemicals, aircraft, and computers. Most large industries in the country are in the south and south-east regions.

Automobile Industry In Brazil

The history of the Brazilian automotive industry began in 1925 with the establishment of a Chevrolet assembly line. The country subsequently attracted other manufacturers from Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Fiat, and Mercedes Benz. The 1990s brought with it more auto companies to Brazil including Audi, Nissan, Honda, Peugeot, Hyundai, Renault, and Chrysler. Troller ranks as the most successful home-grown company, and it enjoys a market in Latin America and Africa. The company's models are the T4 and Pantanal. The country's automobile production outdid itself in 2007 when it grew 14% compared to the previous year. The industry recorded more than $100 billion in revenues in 2010, and it generated approximately 1.5 million jobs. The sector has been attracting more foreign companies including the Chinese JAC Motors.

Oil And Gas Industry In Brazil

Brazil is recognized as a significant player in the oil and gas industries in the region. It also ranks as the second largest ethanol fuel producer in the world. The country's energy sector benefited immensely from the market liberalization implemented in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Over 50 oil companies manage oil exploration activities in Brazil. The country had the second-largest identified oil reserves in all of South America in 2006 at 11.2 billion barrels behind Venezuela. Most of the reserves lie in the southeastern coast at the Campos and Santos offshore basins. A crude oil transport system is operated by Transpetro which includes 3,700 miles of cruse pipelines, inland storage facilities, and coastal import terminals. The major Brazilian natural gas reserves are also located in Campos and Santos basins while the rest include Amazonas, Foz do Amazonas, and Sergipe/Alagoas. Petrobras control more than 90% of the country's natural gas reserves. Other Brazilian natural resources include coal, oil shale, and uranium.

Iron And Steel Industry In Brazil

Steel industries in the country benefited from government backing in the mid-20th century since steel was considered the fundamental produce to facilitate economic growth. The industries were created in regions rich in iron ores such as the State of Minas Gerais, Sao Paolo, and Volta Redonda. Privatization of the steel industries was done in the 1990s and the country today has 29 steel mills managed by 11 company groups. The Vale company boasts about 14 billion metric tons of iron ore making it the world's largest iron ore producer. The company further can produce approximately 400 million tons of the product yearly, and its iron ore exports make up about 80% of the total from Brazil. MMX Mineracao e Metalicos S.A. has its yearly production capacity estimated at 10.1 million tons and 28 million tons for Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN). CSN maintains a capacity to produce steel at 8 million tons per year. Another of Brazil's main steelmakers is Usiminas whose yearly annual production capacity is estimated at 7 million tons. The company accounts for over 25% of the local steel market, and it produces the most steel for the country's auto and construction industries. Gerdau SA ranks as the Brazil's third-largest steel producer, and it controls about 20% of the country's steel market. Brazil's steel industries are supported by the high grade of the country's iron deposits. The Carajas mines for example operated by Vale bear an average iron content of between 66% to 67%.

Machinery And Equipment Industry In Brazil

Brazil's machinery and equipment sector accounts for about 7% of the nation's Industrial Production Index. The agriculture and transport sub-sectors are especially lucrative. 90% of the agricultural machines used in the country are bought domestically and used in the cultivation of crops such as wheat, soybeans, rice, and corn. The machines enjoy a significant regional market as well with wheel tractors being one of the top exports. The machinery industry in the country also produces road equipment.

Agriculture Industry In Brazil

Agriculture is a fundamental aspect of Brazil's economy. Extensive sugarcane plantations characterized colonial Brazil where the European settlers either employed local or African labor in the form of slaves. Coffee plantations were also established, and after independence, the crop's production was concentrated in the Southeast region. The cultivation of rubber, cocoa, and tobacco gained popularity in the 19th century. The country's agriculture underwent a radical transformation from 1994 where mechanization, state subsidies, and professionalization raised Brazil's productivity. Cattle, tobacco, fruit, cotton, soy, cassava, coffee, sugarcane, corn, beans, wheat, and rice rank as the country's major products. The crop produced varies from region to region. The south is for example known for rice, beans, corn, tobacco, and poultry while the Southeast ranks top in fruit production. The Northeastern region produces cassava, rice, and bananas. The country has numerous family farms, most of which are situated in the southern, northeastern, and southeast part of the country.

Textile Industry In Brazil

The country's textile sector is valued at $63 billion, and it consists of 30,000 companies with a yearly production of 9.5 million garments. The sector's workforce is the second largest in the nation. Brazil is one of the few nations that still utilize all the links in the textile industry, that is from sourcing the fiber to design and production. The country ranks fifth in the world regarding production and consumption of cotton, and most of the material is grown in Mato Grosso. Brazil further ranks as the 2nd largest producer of denim and the 3rd largest consumer of the product. Brazil’s government has undertaken major strides to make the industry sustainable, ethical, and productive.


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