Latest official figures clearly show that the Ceará economy made great strides in 2017. Growth both for Q4 and for the year as a whole comes out way ahead of the national rate. With strong agricultural and industrial sectors and a burgeoning tourist industry, 2018 looks set to be another good year for Ceará.
The report issued by the state Economic Strategy and Research Institute (IPECE in Brazilian) in late March paints a very rosy picture for the Ceará economy. All three sectors that make up the main pillars – agricultural, industrial and services – experienced positive growth with agriculture seeing a particularly strong increase.
Ceará GDP ahead of Brazil
As was the case throughout 2017, Q4 also registered strong GDP growth in Ceará with figures well ahead of the national rate. The state’s GDP grew by 3.24% in the last three months of the year, 1.21% more than the national rate of 2.1%.
For the year itself, the Ceará economy notched up 1.87% growth, almost double that in Brazil as a whole. The increase in GDP last year was 1%.
Although it’s the smallest of the three main economic sectors in the state, agriculture had a particularly strong last quarter of the year. The sector grew by a massive 29.06% as Ceará’s farms and fisheries produced one of their best quarters in 2017.
Agriculture has strong prospects for this year too. Fruit and meat exports will be the main beneficiaries of a new shipping route between Ceará and Asia, due to start operation in May this year. Operated by Maersk Line, the AC5 route will stop at Pecem Port – the only Brazilian port on its journey – on its way to Asia taking Ceará fruit and meat on board. The new route, expected to transport over 1,000 containers a year, reduces travel time from 60 days to 29.
Strong Pecem industry
Q4 also saw an increase in industrial output in Ceará. The sector grew by 2.36% in the last three months of 2017. Pecem Port is a major player in the Ceará economy and responsible for a large proportion of industrial activity in the state.
The Port has just celebrated its 16th anniversary with record cargo handling. By the end of 2017, a total of 15.8 million tonnes had been moved in Pecem and Port authorities expect this to increase by 10% during 2018. In January and February alone, the Port handled over 2 million tonnes.
Textile sector set for growth
Another important sector for the Ceará economy is textiles. Although the sector makes up just 3% of the state’s output, it accounts for almost 20% of jobs. Analysts predict the textile industry will grow by 3% annually from 2018 to 2021 and boost job creation considerably.
Textile production in Ceará state currently represents 40% of the total in the Northeast and North regions of Brazil and is the fifth largest in Brazil. The sector will receive a boost in August with the Ceará Fashion Trade event, expected to generate more than R$18 million over the three days. More than 100 fashion brands will attend the event whose aim is, according to its director Roberta Cavalcante, “make Ceará the number one spot for the fashion sector in Brazil”.
(Sources: IPECE, Diario do Nordeste)