Juan Carlos Barboza & Diego Ciongo
The trade balance showed a surplus of USD 1.1 billion in December, up from USD 0.4 billion in the same month of 2021. The trade surplus down to USD 6.9 billion in 2022, from USD 14.8 billion in 2021. At the margin, the seasonally adjusted annualized balance showed a surplus of USD 13.9 billion in 4Q22 (from a surplus of USD 0.4 billion in 3Q22).
Exports increased in 4Q22. Total exports increased by 7.5% yoy, after a drop of 0.8% in 3Q22, led by strong soybean shipments spurred by a special (and temporary) FX for the sector. Agricultural exports, including manufactured agricultural products, increased by 6.7% yoy in the quarter (from a drop of 4.7% yoy in 3Q22). Exports of other industrial products increased by 6.1% yoy in the quarter ended in December (from 5.7% in 3Q22), led by cars and biodiesel. On a sequential basis, exports rose by 7.3% qoq/saar in December (from a decrease of 29.9% in the quarter ended in September).
Imports fell in 4Q22, affected by controls. Total imports decreased by 2.3% yoy in the period (from 33.2% yoy in 3Q22) and plummeted by 45.8% qoq/saar (from a drop of 17.6% in 3Q22). Imports of intermediate goods fell by 8.8% yoy, while imports of capital goods and parts increased by 4.4% yoy, followed by consumer goods (including cars) at 4.9% yoy.
The deficit in the energy trade balance widened in 2022. The energy deficit jumped to USD 5.0 billion from USD 0.6 billion in 2021. Energy imports decreased by 6.9% yoy in 4Q22, while oil exports increased by 11.2% yoy in the period.
We forecast a trade surplus of USD 7.0 billion for 2023, with downside risks from a likely severe draught.
Juan Carlos Barboza