Itaú BBA - ARGENTINA – Trade surplus widened in April

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ARGENTINA – Trade surplus widened in April

Maio 27, 2020

We forecast a surplus of USD 17.5 billion this year, as measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 will take further a toll on activity and imports

Trade surplus remained strong due to tumbling imports and despite a new drop in exports. The trade balance posted a USD 1.4 billion surplus in April, up from the USD 1.2 billion surplus registered in same month of last year. Thus, the last-12-month trade surplus increased to USD 17.5 billion. At the margin, the annualized surplus adjusted for seasonality decreased a tad to USD 15.5 billion in the quarter ended in April, from USD 15.7 billion in 1Q20.

Exports declined across all categories in the quarter ended in April. Total exports decreased by 13.0% yoy (down from 6.8% yoy in 1Q20). On a sequential basis, exports plummeted by 52.5% qoq/saar (from -45.4% in 1Q20). Agricultural exports including manufactured products declined by 2.7% yoy in the quarter ended in April, mostly due to lower sales of soybean flour, pellets and oil seeds. Sales of industrial products dropped by 29.5% yoy in the period, from an 11.9% yoy decline in the quarter ended in 1Q20, due to a dramatic decline in car exports amid production disruptions.

Imports continued to fall sharply. Total imports declined by 23.4% yoy in the quarter ended in April as activity contraction deepened. At the margin, imports tumbled by 31.1% qoq/saar (-6.8% in 1Q20). Consumer goods imports (including cars) dropped by 24.8% yoy in the period. Imports of intermediate goods were down by 12.6%, while purchases of capital goods and parts declined by 31.1%, reflecting a sharp reduction in investment. 

Energy trade-balance deficit remained low. The rolling 12-month trade deficit came in at USD 0.3 billion, slightly down from February.   

We forecast a surplus of USD 17.5 billion this year, as measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 will take further a toll on activity and imports.

Juan Carlos Barboza
Diego Ciongo



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