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Covid-19 pandemic shrinks footwear exports

The crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic played an essential role in the decrease in footwear exports during the first four months of the year. According to data prepared by the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados), 4.84 million pairs were shipped in April, for USD 30.3 million, a 40% decrease in volume and a 60.8% decrease in revenues in relation to the same month last year. With the result, exports totaled 36.87 million pairs and USD 271.2 million during the four months, a 14.4% decrease in volume and a 21% decrease in revenues in relation to the corresponding period of 2019.

Abicalçados' executive president, Haroldo Ferreira, highlights that the scenario is explained by the crisis caused by the spread of Covid-19, especially in the United States, a historic and the main purchaser of Brazilian shoes abroad.  Between January and April, Americans imported 3.1 million pairs for USD 51.32 million, a 35.4% decrease in volume and a 26.7% decrease in revenues in relation to the same period last year. 

The second-largest international buyer during the four months was Argentina, to where 2.68 million pairs were shipped, generating USD 28 million, a 7.4% increase in volume and a 10.6% decrease in revenues in relation to the first third of 2019. 

France ranked third among importers of Brazilian shoes. During the four-month period, the French imported 2.5 million pairs, for which USD 16.16 million were paid, 18.3% and 13.3% decreases, respectively, in relation to the corresponding period last year. 

States
During the four months, the largest exporter in Brazil was the state of Rio Grande do Sul, from where 8.48 million pairs were shipped, generating USD 114.75 million. The decreases amounted to 17.5% in volume and 24.8% in revenues in relation to the same period last year.

Also with a sharp decrease in shipments, Ceará was the second-largest footwear exporter in the four months. During the period, manufacturers from the state sent 13.46 million pairs abroad for USD 74.76 million, 20.5% and 22.8% decreases, respectively, compared to the same period in 2019.

With a 9% decrease in volume and a 22.5% decrease in revenues, the state of São Paulo was the third-largest exporter during the period, shipping 2.32 million pairs for USD 26.8 million.

The only state with positive results in the ranking of the main exporters was Paraíba, from where 7.8 million pairs were shipped for USD 24.74 million, a 13% increase in volume and a 16.5% increase in revenues in relation to the same period last year. "Besides the fact that its basis was very weak in 2019, shipments of flip-flops from Paraíba increased, especially to China," says Ferreira.

Imports
During the four months, imports totaled 10.45 million pairs and USD 123.24 million, a 10% decrease in volume and a 0.6% decrease in revenues in comparison with the same period last year.

The main origins of imports during the period were still Asian countries, which accounted for 92% of the total pairs imported by Brazil. In the four-month period, Vietnam exported 4.17 million pairs to Brazil, the equivalent to USD 70 million, numbers 5.2% and 10.7% higher, respectively, than those recorded in 2019. The second origin of imported shoes was Indonesia, with 1.23 million pairs and USD 20.42 million, 24% and 16.2% decreases.  China ranked third, having exported 4.1 million pairs to Brazil for USD 16.18 million, a 16% decrease in volume and a 1% increase in revenues. In footwear parts  – uppers, soles, heels, insoles, etc. – imports reached USD 8.5 million, 22% less than in the same period of 2019. The main origins of footwear parts were China, Vietnam, and Paraguay.