ARGENTINA – Strong exports lead to a solid trade surplus in August

We forecast a trade surplus of USD 12 billion for 2021, slightly down from USD 12.5 billion in 2020.

Juan Carlos Barboza & Diego Ciongo

22/09/2021


The trade balance showed a record surplus of USD 2.3 billion in August, significantly above our forecast of USD 1.0 billion. The 12-month trade surplus increased to USD 11.9 billion in August, from USD 11.0 billion in July. At the margin, the seasonally-adjusted annualized surplus for the quarter ended in August rose to USD 21.1 billion (from USD 17.4 billion for the quarter ended in July).

Solid export growth was once again driven by higher commodity prices and strong industrial exports. Total exports increased by 52.4% yoy in the quarter ended in August, from 42.4% in the previous month. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, exports grew 76.0% qoq/saar (from 46.3% qoq/saar in July). Agriculture exports, including manufactured agricultural products, increased by 42.6% yoy in the same quarter (from a 28.6% yoy gain in the quarter ended in July), led by shipments of soybeans and its derivatives as well as cereals. Exports of industrial products – driven mostly by car sales – increased by 82.8% yoy in the quarter ended in August (from 101.3% in the previous quarter).

Imports continued to rise. Total imports rose by 69.4% yoy in the quarter ended in August (from 69.1% yoy in July) and 34.2% qoq/saar (vs. 29.5% in the previous month). Purchases of intermediate goods increased by 70.4% yoy in the period, followed by capital goods and parts (67.0% yoy), while imports of consumer goods (including cars) grew 19.3% yoy.

The 12-month energy trade deficit continued to widen. The rolling 12-month balance came in at a deficit of USD 772 million through August, from a surplus of USD 690 million in December 2020, following an increase in oil and gas imports.

We forecast a trade surplus of USD 12 billion for 2021, slightly down from USD 12.5 billion in 2020. 

Juan Carlos Barboza
Diego Ciongo