Argentina: Exports continue to drop amid grain hoarding
March 20, 2014
In February, exports contracted 6.1% over the same month last year. The contraction was larger than the 4.3% fall recorded in the same month last year and represented the fourth consecutive drop in exports. The reading was underpinned by a 54.0% drop in grain exports, as farmers continued to hoard grains and soybeans to hedge against the weak peso. A month-on-month comparison paints a more positive picture than the one reported in the annual figures. Exports expanded 2.1% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in February, which represented a slowdown over the 6.8% expansion recorded in January but marked nonetheless a second consecutive increase. That said, grains exports may pick up in the coming months, as the country expects an all-time record soy crop of 54 million tons in 2014. Imports expanded 2.4% annually in February (February 2013: +9.8% year-on-year). Amid the continued deterioration in exports, the trade surplus narrowed to USD 44 million, which was just a fraction of the USD 521 million recorded in February 2013. Nonetheless, this was slightly higher than the USD 35 billion surplus recorded in January. LatinFocus Consensus Forecast panelists expect that exports will expand 1.6% in 2014, pushing them to USD 85.5 billion. For 2015, the panel expects exports to grow 2.8%.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions