Imports in Argentina reach USD 64 bn this year despite foreign currency crisisNov, 10, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros
Despite the lack of dollars and ongoing calls from various sectors to expedite access to foreign currency to settle import licenses (SIRA), preliminary data from official sources indicate that foreign purchases remain historically high this year. According to information obtained by Ámbito, in October, goods worth nearly $6 billion were imported, and the accumulated total for the first ten months of 2023 is the second-highest in the last five years.
Imports totaled $64 billion between January and October. Moreover, 2023 sets a record so far in terms of importing capital goods, parts, and accessories, with a cumulative total of $23.3 billion, compared to $23.2 billion in 2022. In 2021, the category had reached a total of $17.8 billion; in 2019, around $16.1 billion; and in the following year (with the pandemic), about $11.7 billion. The average for the four years of the current administration was $19 billion, surpassing the imports in 2019.
Imports: October data
In the tenth month of the year, imports reached almost $6 billion, representing a 10% annual decrease and a 4% drop compared to September. Approximately $4 billion was channeled through the official foreign exchange market (MULC) (one-third of the total).
This latest data explains how, despite the approximately 20% drop in foreign currency inflows due to the drought, the level of imports remained high. The government prioritized not further affecting economic activity and encouraged a significant portion of foreign purchases to be financed with new commercial debt from suppliers and parent companies.
In line with official data, 70% of the annual cumulative import drop until October compared to 2022 (the only year exceeding the current one in the last five) is attributed to the improvement in the energy balance. They emphasize that the Néstor Kirchner gas pipeline and increased gas production were crucial factors contributing to this improvement.
Imports by categories
According to the breakdown, intermediate goods represented approximately $2.1 billion in October, which implies an 11% year-on-year decrease and an 8.5% growth compared to September. Concerning industrial food purchases from abroad, monthly expenditures amounted to $260 million.
Capital goods exceeded $1 billion, a 6.5% decrease from the September level but with a slight improvement year-on-year.
Meanwhile, Consumer Goods were less than $570 million, a 6% monthly and 6% annual decline.
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