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Argentina: Trade balance swings to surplus

Staff Writer | October 25, 2018
Exports contracted in Argentina 4.8% in year-on-year terms in September, following August’s revised 1.6% fall (previously reported: -1.4% year-on-year).
Argentina central bank
LatAm   Imports plummeted 21.2% annually in September
September’s drop reflected an over 30% contraction in exports of primary commodities, only partially offset by a strong increase in fuels and energy exports, and by a slight expansion in exports of manufactured products of agricultural origin.

Imports plummeted 21.2% annually in September, a much sharper fall than August’s revised 0.1% dip (previously reported: -0.3% year-on-year). A plunge in capital goods and consumption goods imports, just partially compensated by sturdier energy imports, explain September’s plummet.

Meanwhile, the trade balance swung from a USD 1.1 billion deficit in August to a USD 0.3 billion surplus in September (September 2017: USD 0.7 billion deficit). The 12-month rolling trade deficit came in at USD 9.7 billion (September 2017: USD 5.0 billion shortfall), narrowing from August’s USD 10.7 billion deficit.

Panelists participating in the LatinFocus Consensus Forecast expect exports to expand 11.1% in 2019 and imports to decrease 2.6%, pushing the trade balance to a USD 3.0 billion surplus. For 2020, the panel expects exports to increase 7.4% and imports to grow 4.9%, with a trade surplus of USD 5.5 billion.