In 2016, Brazil made the front page of online and printed news sources for several reasons. The successful Summer Olympics was one reason. The consensus before the Olympics started was Brazil was going to botch the major sports event in one way or another, but as usual, Brazil pulled through. The Zika virus was another news story. Dilma Rousseff impeachment and new President Temer’s trips around the globe also made headlines. But the recession that has been lingering in the largest economy in Latin America was, and still is, the main news story. There are signs that Brazil is pulling out of its economic slump, according to Flavio Maluf, the CEO of Eucatex. Eucatex is one of Brazil’s leading export companies. Maluf recently talked about Brazil’s trade surplus. In 2016, the country posted the largest trade surplus on record.
The country posted a surplus of $4.4 billion in December, and that brought the total for 2016 to $47.7 billion, according to the figures released by the trade ministry. That surplus beats the 2006 total of $46.5 billion. According to Maluf, the gross domestic product output shrank by 3.5 percent in 2016, and that was less than the 3.5 percent posted in 2015. Brazil imported $137.6 billion worth of services and goods last year, and that is a 20 percent drop from the 2015 total of $171.4 billion.
Flavio Maluf’s Eucatex has been a powerhouse in Brazil’s economy for more than 50 years. Eucatex produces building materials like floorboards, doors, paints, varnishes and other materials to North and South America and Europe. The Eucatex brands are carried by home improvement stores like Home Depot in the United States. So Eucatex plays an important role in Brazil’s economic image.
Eucatex started as a small offshoot from the Maluf family’s sawmill in the 1950s. Flavio Maluf has turned the company into an environmentally conscious organization that promotes the clean air initiative. There is also a company-wide recycle, reuse and reduce program in place.