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Manufacturing exports momentum remain soft.
2023/12/22 | Julio Ruiz



The trade balance posted a surplus of USD 0.6 billion in November, a narrower surplus than our forecast of USD 1.4 billion, but a wider surplus than market consensus of USD 0.2 billion (as per Bloomberg). The 12-month rolling trade balance improved to a deficit of USD 8.7 billion in November (from a deficit of USD 9.5 billion in October). Also on a 12-month rolling basis, the narrower headline trade deficit was explained by a lower energy trade deficit of USD 20.6 billion in November (from a deficit of USD 21.8 billion in October), while the non-energy surplus narrowed to USD 11.9 billion (from USD 12.3 billion). At the margin, using three-month annualized seasonally adjusted figures, the trade balance stood at a deficit of USD 2.1 billion in November (from a surplus of USD 0.3 billion in 3Q23). Looking at the breakdown, manufacturing exports weakened, falling by 0.5% mom/sa in November, with a weak momentum as reflected by a qoq/saar of -3.9%. Non-energy imports fell by 0.5% mom/sa in November, dragged by intermediate imports (-0.9%) which are also associated to manufacturing activity, while consumption imports expanded 1.8%. The qoq/saar of non-energy imports stood at -2.0% in November (from -3.1% in 3Q23).  

 

Our view: Our trade deficit forecast of USD 14 billion has an upside bias (narrower deficit) given a better-than-expected evolution year-to-date. Next year we expect the trade deficit to deteriorate to USD 17 billion. Our forecast is supported by our expectation of manufacturing exports remaining soft dragged by a slower external demand, while non-energy consumption and investment imports are likely to be resilient driven by a favorable evolution of the internal demand which is supported by an expansive fiscal stance.

 

See detailed data below