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Its economy might be in tatters, and corruption scandals seem to hit a new sector every week, but Brazil is proving there is a silver lining to be found in every crisis.

Latin America’s biggest economy logged a trade surplus of $7.14bn in March – the biggest monthly gain recorded since records began in 1980 – as a weaker currency helped power agricultural exports, and a two-year recession continues to weigh on local demand for foreign goods and imports.

The record surplus comes despite a number of countries briefly banning Brazilian meat imports amid ongoing investigations into allegations of corruption between health inspectors and the operators of regional plants.

Imports edged up slightly to $12.9bn in March from $10.9bn the month before. However, that gain is dwarfed by the surge in exports, which totalled $20.1bn last month, compared to the $15.47bn recorded in February and up from $16bn posted in the prior-year period.

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