Argentina Trade Balance


Rising imports prompt government to set import barriers

In January, exports rose 21.9% over the same month the year before, up from the 15.9% expansion observed in December. The reading marked the 11th consecutive month of double-digit export growth. The January expansion corroborates the healthy state of the external sector, with exports gradually moving towards pre-crisis levels. In January, the moving 3-month sum in exports reached USD 16.9 billion, which was still below the peak of USD 21.3 billion observed in September 2008 but well above the USD 11.9 billion trough recorded in February 2009. A month-on-month comparison corroborates the positive year-on-year result, as exports expanded 6.0% on a seasonally-adjusted basis, contrasting the 2.9% drop recorded in December. Meanwhile, imports grew 52.2% annually in January, rising even faster than the extraordinary 48.5% expansion recorded in December. Despite the strong growth in imports, the trade surplus rose from USD 241 million in December to USD 513 million in January. Amid the rapid rise in imports, the government ratified import limits at the beginning of February, affecting a range of goods, including consumer electronics and metal products among others. Importers will now need a special permit to bring these items in the country. According to Industry Minister Debora Giorgi, the measures are meant to protect the local market from ?unfair competition? and help foster local productions in the sectors covered by the barriers.

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