ARGENTINA – Solid trade surplus in September

There are upside risks to our forecast for a trade surplus of USD 12 billion in 2021 following the recent tightening of import controls.

Juan Barboza & Diego Ciongo

21/10/2021


The trade balance showed a strong surplus of USD 1.7 billion in September, above our forecast of USD 1.3 billion. The 12-month trade surplus increased to USD 13.0 billion in September, from USD 11.9 billion in August. At the margin, the seasonally-adjusted annualized surplus for 3Q21 rose to USD 21.9 billion (from USD 16.5 billion in 2Q21).

Higher commodity prices and strong industrial exports led to solid export growth in 3Q21. Total exports increased by 56.7% yoy in 3Q21, from 40.5% in the previous quarter. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, exports grew 66.9% qoq/saar (from 27.6% qoq/saar in 2Q21). Agriculture exports, including manufactured agricultural products, increased by 54.7% yoy in the period (from a 27.7% yoy gain in the quarter ended in June), led by shipments of soybeans and cereals. Exports of industrial products increased by 55.6% yoy (from 105.5% in 2Q21), driven mostly by car sales.

Robust import growth in 3Q21. Total imports rose by 56.5% yoy in 3Q21 (from 68% yoy in 2Q21) and 37.7% qoq/saar (vs. 17.0% in the previous quarter). Purchases of intermediate goods increased by 62.3% yoy in the period, followed by capital goods and parts (53% yoy), while imports of consumer goods (including cars) grew 14.0% yoy.

The 12-month energy trade deficit narrowed. The rolling 12-month balance came in at a deficit of USD 637 million through September, from a deficit of USD 772 in August. Despite the reduction, the deficit – due to an increase in oil and gas imports – contrasts with a surplus USD 690 million in 2020.

There are upside risks to our forecast for a trade surplus of USD 12 billion in 2021 following the recent tightening of import controls. 

Juan Carlos Barboza
Diego Ciongo