The trade surplus fell to USD 271 million in November, the lowest balance since August 2018

Bachelor of Economics (UBA). Economic Analyst of Libertad y Progreso.

INFOBAE – The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (Indec) reported that the Argentine Commercial Exchange (ICA) registered a positive balance of just USD 271 million in November, mainly sustained by an advance in commodity prices.

In the eleventh month, exports fell by 25.6% year-on-year (USD 4,385 million), while imports grew by 20.7% (USD 4,114 million) compared to the same month of 2019. In the first eleven months of 2020, the trade surplus accumulated around USD 12,497 million, 10% below the USD 13,749 million in the January-November 2019 period.

Intercambio comercial

Marcelo Elizondo, director of the DNI consulting firm, stated that “the foreseeable thing for Argentina is that total exports of goods and services will decrease in 2020 -in an optimistic scenario- in a range of 15 to 16 percent.”

“Therefore, it can be expected that the Argentine export performance will be worse than the world result,” Elizondo said.

INDEC detailed that exports decreased by about USD 1,508 million compared to November 2019, despite the increase in international prices of the order of 4.3% year-on-year. Therefore, measured in quantities, the collapse of external sales was 28.6 percent.


At the level of items, the only export sector that registered an increase was that of manufactures of agricultural origin (MOA), 11% year-on-year, where soybean meal and oil sales have a decisive impact.

The positive ICA result in November was “driven by a recovery in commodity prices, the economic recovery of our main trading partners and the domestic agro-export sector,” Natalia Motyl, economist at Fundación Libertad y Progreso, told Reuters. In November, the positive trade balance fell by 89% compared to the same month last year

Regarding imports, these demanded some USD 705 million more in November than in the same month last year: quantities increased 24.9%, while prices decreased 3.3 percent.

Walter Morales, head of the consulting firm WISE, pointed out that “we must be aware that without devaluation, if today it costs to export added value with the current exchange rate, it will be worse in six months, when we know that there will be inflationary acceleration because there would be no quarantine. It is that the Multilateral Real Exchange Rate is similar to that of 2011 ″.

“If we choose export destinations based on the currency, the dollar and the euro are the best options, since it has a real exchange rate similar to that of 2009 and 2010, respectively. While selling to Brazil, which is our main trading partner, is going to be difficult because we have the same exchange rate relationship as in 2015, the year in which the devaluation was just around the corner, “Morales added.


In November 2019, according to INDEC data, Argentina’s trade balance registered a surplus of USD 2,484 million, which implies that the positive balance plummeted last month by 89%, to fall below USD 300 million, the surplus lowest monthly since August 2018, more than two years ago, when the result was negative by about 1,112 million dollars.

Analysts pointed out that Argentina’s trade surplus could continue to shrink in the coming months when the economy begins to improve due to a higher level of imports.

“The surplus is expected to shrink in the coming months as domestic demand is expected to recover, so some growth in imports is expected,” Motyl added.