Argentina: Trade surplus widens notably in March on plunging imports
May 9, 2019
Exports declined 5.0% in year-on-year terms in March, contrasting February’s 3.7% increase. March’s fall was the result of falling export prices, while quantities registered a slight increase. It came on the back of sizable drops in exports of manufactured products of industrial origin, and of manufactured products of agricultural origin. Foreign sales of primary products also contracted, albeit to a lesser extent. On the other hand, exports of fuels and energy products grew. In terms of export markets, overseas sales to Brazil, Chile and Paraguay declined considerably and were only partially counterbalanced by increases in exports to the U.S. and China.
Imports nosedived 33.7% annually in March, a sharper fall than February’s 22.9% plunge. Sharp falls in the imports of passenger motor vehicles, capital and consumption goods, led March’s contraction.
Meanwhile, the trade balance surplus widened from a USD 0.5 billion surplus in February to a USD 1.2 billion surplus in March, the seventh consecutive surplus after 20 months in the red (March 2018: USD 0.6 billion deficit). The 12-month rolling trade balance swung from a USD 1.2 billion deficit in February to a USD 0.6 billion surplus in March (March 2018: USD 9.5 billion shortfall), marking the first surplus since April 2017.
Argentina Trade Balance Forecast
Panelists participating in the LatinFocus Consensus Forecast expect exports to expand 11.7% in 2019 and imports to decrease 7.7%, pushing the trade balance to a USD 8.4 billion surplus. For 2020, the panel expects exports to increase 6.6% and imports to grow 7.1%, with a trade surplus of USD 8.7 billion.