Argentina: Trade surplus narrows to 13-year low as farmers shut down grain exports
February 21, 2014
In January, exports contracted 7.7% over the same month last year and fell to USD 5.2 billion. The reading contrasted the 0.7% expansion recorded in the same month last year and represented the fourth consecutive drop in exports. The reading was underpinned by a 58.0% drop in grain exports, as farmers hoarded grains and soybeans to hedge against the devaluation of the peso that occurred at the end of the month. That said, a month-on-month comparison paints a more positive picture than the one reported in the annual figures. Exports expanded 6.5% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in January, which represented a partial recovery from the 16.7% drop recorded in December. Imports dropped 3.5% annually in January (January 2012: +0.5% year-on-year). Amid the continued deterioration in exports, the trade surplus narrowed to USD 35 million, which was just a fraction of the USD 280 million recorded in January 2013 and marked the smallest surplus since March 2001. 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