The current account showed a surplus of USD 1.7 billion in 4Q22, from a surplus of USD 0.3 billion in the same quarter of 2021, led by a higher trade balance. Thus, the current account posted a deficit of USD 3.8 billion for full-year 2022, equivalent to 0.6% of GDP (down from a surplus of 1.4% of GDP in 2021). At the margin, we estimate that the seasonally-adjusted current account had a surplus of 1.1% of GDP in 4Q22.
Trade surplus for goods widened in 4Q22 relative to 4Q21. Exports increased by 8.0%, helped by the reintroduction of a special FX for soybean exports in December. Imports declined by 2.0 yoy, after the implementation of tighter controls. Thus, the trade surplus for goods jumped to USD 5.5 billion in 4Q22, from a surplus of USD 3.6 billion in the same quarter of 2021. The service account deficit narrowed to USD 1.2 billion, from USD 1.4 billion one year earlier. The deficit in the income balance (net interest bill and dividend payments) widened to USD 3.1 billion, from a deficit of USD 2.3 billion in 4Q21.
International reserves increased by USD 6.0 billion during the last quarter of 2022, mostly reflecting disbursements from the IMF under the ongoing EFF program and the above mentioned current account surplus. External debt increased to USD 272.8 billion in 4Q22 (43.3% of GDP), from USD 267.9 billion at the end of 2021 (55.8% of GDP).
We forecast a current account deficit of 0.4% of GDP for 2023.
Juan Carlos Barboza