The blow from the drought wiped out exports in February.
That month they reached only
US$ 5,230 million
, a reduction of 18.9% in relation to the same period of the previous year.
The dollars that the drought stopped contributing made the exchange rate tighten and the drop in imports deepen.
Purchases abroad totaled
US$ 5,048 million
, which represented a year-on-year decrease of 10.4%.
This double fall meant that last month it closed with a trade surplus of
US$ 182 million
, which represented a drop of 77.7% compared to the positive balance of the same month of 2022.
The report released by INDEC this afternoon shows that the drop in exports was mainly due to
lower sales of wheat, flour and other soybean derivatives and biodiesel.
With these results February is the
second consecutive month in which the impact of the drought on foreign trade can be seen.
Within the items that make up exports,
the most marked fall was that of primary products with 33.6%
In this block, cereals contracted 49.7% annually, which explains almost all of the lower exports of primary products.
All export items were negative.
Manufactures of Agricultural Origin fell 16.4%, while Manufactures of Industrial Origin decreased 14.4% and Fuels and energy had a slight contraction of 0.1%.
On the side of imports, the most pronounced decrease was for fuels and energy with 29.6% and for capital goods with 21.1%, essential to develop production.
Among external purchases, the only two categories that managed to grow were Passenger motor vehicles (an increase of 8.3% year-on-year) and Parts and accessories for capital goods (with an increase of 2.8%), although purely and exclusively due to the rise in prices, since imported volumes fell 5.9% and 0.9%, respectively.
In the first two months of the year, Argentina accumulated a trade deficit of
, compared to a positive balance of US$1,115 million in the same period of 2022.
This result complicates the budget objective of reaching a trade surplus of
US$ 12,347 million
Last year the result had been US$ 6,923 million.
Abeceb they indicate that exports showed
the largest annual percentage drop in the last 7 years
(excluding 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, you have to go back to December 2015 to find a drop greater than that of February of this year).
And they state that
"going forward, the prospects are not at all favourable
, since the climate does not improve and the projections for agriculture and the gross harvest are getting worse."
The consultant's estimate is that the value of agro-industrial exports
would fall between US$12,000 million and US$15,000 million in relation to 2022.
Abeceb points out that imports would also fall in 2023. "The main reason that would explain this decrease is the delicate situation in terms of reserves of the Central Bank."
"Given the Government's reluctance to adjust the official exchange rate, the decline in the supply of agricultural dollars will be sought to be compensated -partially- through
a tightening of import restrictions -something that already began to be glimpsed towards the end of the last year
-", says Abeceb.
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