BRASILIA, May 22 (Reuters) - Brazil posted another hefty current account deficit in April as its traditional trade surplus has turned into a deficit this year and foreign companies are repatriating more of their profits, central bank data showed on Tuesday.
The commodities powerhouse posted a current account gap of $8.318 billion in April, the largest for the month since the beginning of the central bank data series in 1980.
It is also larger than the deficit of $7.222 billion expected by a median of 20 analysts surveyed by Reuters. Brazil posted a deficit of $5.368 billion in April of last year.
The country's current account deficit in March was $6.873 billion, the central bank said last month.
The current account is a country's broadest measure of foreign transactions encompassing trade, profit remittances, interest payments and other items.
'The deteriorating current account dynamics are an increasing source of concern to investors,' Alberto Ramos, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, said in a note to clients. He said he expected the deficit to widen to $70 billion this year, above the central bank estimate of $67 billion.
In the first four months of the year, the current account deficit has nearly doubled to $33.176 billion from the same period a year earlier.
A hefty bill for imported fuel and a fall in the price of commodities has led Brazil to accumulate a trade deficit of $6.15 billion in the first four months of 2013, a sharp contrast to the $3.299 billion surplus recorded in the same period last year.
Adding to the current account deficit, companies operating in Brazil repatriated $2.5 billion in profits and dividends to their headquarters abroad, 5.1 percent more than in April 2012.
In recent years, Brazil's current account deficit was mitigated by a strong inflow of foreign direct investment, or FDI. After a jump in late 2010, though, FDI has stagnated, prompting economists to question how long foreign investment could continue to make up for the current account shortfall.
At the moment, and despite the stagnation, FDI remains relatively robust. It reached $5.720 billion in April, above market expectations of $5 billion.
The central bank has forecast a current account deficit of $67 billion in 2013 and FDI of $65 billion.
In the 12 months through April, the current account deficit was equivalent to 3.04 percent of gross domestic product, the highest in over a decade.
(Reporting by Alonso Soto, Luciana Otoni and Maria Carolina Marcello; Editing by Paulo Prada, James Dalgleish and Chizu Nomiyama) Keywords: BRAZIL ECONOMY/CURRENT ACCOUNT
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