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BRASILIA, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Brazil posted a lower than expected trade surplus of $5.444 billion in July, official data showed on Monday, with growth in imports again strongly outpacing that of exports.
The figure came below the median forecast of a $6.993 billion surplus in a Reuters poll.
Imports rose 41.6% in July over the same month last year, to $24.511 billion, the Economy Ministry said.
Exports grew by 23%, to $29.955 billion, added the ministry, stressing that higher prices boosted the results in both cases.
This effect has become more pronounced in recent months, with the Ukrainian war putting pressure on commodity prices and especially impacting Brazil's fuel purchases.
Year-to-date, the trade balance surplus in Latin America's largest economy reached $39.751 billion, down from $44.380 billion in the same period in 2021.
Last month, the government downgraded its outlook for the trade balance this year to a $81.5 billion surplus, from $111.6 billion estimated in April, due to a stronger increase expected for imports. (Reporting by Marcela Ayres Editing by Chris Reese and Tomasz Janowski)