Argentina: Trade surplus widens further in December on falling imports and surging exports
January 23, 2019
Exports leaped 15.4% in year-on-year terms in December, following November’s 14.6% increase. December’s jump reflected a strong rise in exports of manufactured products of agricultural origin and of primary products, as well as healthy expansions in foreign sales and of exports of manufactured products of industrial origin. In terms of export markets, solid export growth towards Mercosur (especially Brazil) and the Middle East and a surge in exports towards China were only partially dampened by declining exports towards ASEAN and the European Union.
Imports plummeted 27.1% annually in December, a somewhat softer fall than November’s 29.2% contraction. A plunge in imports of capital and consumption goods, as well of imports of passenger motor vehicles, just partially compensated by sturdier imports of intermediate goods, explain December’s contraction.
Meanwhile, the trade balance surplus widened from a USD 1.0 billion surplus in November to a USD 1.4 billion surplus in December, the fourth consecutive surplus after 20 months in the red and the best reading since May 2014 (December 2017: USD 1.5 billion deficit). The 12-month rolling trade deficit came in at USD 3.8 billion (December 2017: USD 8.3 billion shortfall), narrowing from November’s USD 6.0 billion deficit and marking the best result in almost one-and-a-half years.
Argentina Trade Balance Forecast
Panelists participating in the LatinFocus Consensus Forecast expect exports to expand 11.9% in 2019 and imports to decrease 5.6%, pushing the trade balance to a USD 6.4 billion surplus. For 2020, the panel expects exports to increase 6.8% and imports to grow 7.8%, with a trade surplus of USD 6.3 billion.