Recovering from the downward trend of the last few years, Brazilian footwear exports went up by 18.2 percent to $84.3 million during the month of October as compared to the same month of 2015. They also increased by 1.2 percent in volume to 10.2 million pairs, due to a decline in the average price charged per pair to around seven dollars, thanks largely to the devaluation of the Brazilian real, which is making the products more competitive in international markets.

The Brazilian shoe industry association, Abicalçados, has cautioned that it's probably too early to cry victory, partly because of the rapidly changing exchange rates for the Brazilian real. The sudden swing may be due to a sudden big order, but the October score has led the Brazilian shoe industry to record a 2.1 percent increase in the export volume to 97 million pairs for the first ten months of the year. In terms of value, exports went up by 0.6 percent to $786 million. Exports from the state of Rio Grande do Sul went up by 19 percent in value and by 47 percent in volume, representing 44.5 percent of the country's shoe exports.

Interestingly, exports of sports shoes increased by 111 percent in volume to 1.64 million pairs and by 120.7 percent in dollars to $21 million. Many of the sports shoes sold in Brazil are imported, but total imports of footwear declined by 35.6 percent in volume and by 33 percent in value. The confirmation of the anti-dumping duties on shoes imports from China was probably a factor in the decline, along with the lower value of the Brazilian real, but imports fell even more steeply from Vietnam and Indonesia than from China.

Exports to the U.S., which remains the biggest market for Brazilian footwear, increased by 9.0 percent in value and by 16.7 percent in volume between January and October. Higher increases of 20.0 percent in value and 64.7 percent in volume were registered in Argentina, the second-largest destination for the Brazilian industry. France was the biggest market for Brazilian footwear in Europe, and exports to the country rose by 3.1 percent in volume and by 0.8 percent in value.

The value of Brazil's exports to Argentina rose by 51 percent to $83 million in the first nine months of this year as compared to the corresponding period of 2015, thanks to strong demand for its products. According to Abicalçados, this has led the Argentinian government to reinstate import licenses on Brazilian footwear, with the apparent intention of ensuring that the total for this year will not exceed the levels attained in 2015.

Pointing out that the licenses must be liberalized after 60 days based on the rules of the World Trade Organization, Abicalçados points out that Brazilian producers have already lost an estimated $5.2 million in cancelled orders and that the damage may grow in view of the seasonality of the collections. If exports to Argentina don't resume, it may be difficult for Brazil's global exports to show an increase for the full calendar year.