For its part, LCG projected a trade surplus “around US$11,000 million for this year”and stressed that it would be a 23% lower than that achieved in 2021. Last year, according to official data, the balance closed with a positive balance of US$14.75 billion, which in turn represented 17% more than in 2020.
“However, despite the significant inflow of foreign currency through trade, the BCRA is facing serious difficulties in accumulating reserves, given the growing demand for tourism, the cancellation of financial loans and private hoarding -in addition to the high level of imports- “, remarked from Abeceb, and detailed: “For this reason we hope that, if necessary, the Government will once again increase restrictions on imports -as Cristina Kirchner and Daniel Scioli revealed in recent statements-, through the coordination of the trident BCRA, AFIP and the Ministry of Productive Development”.
From the firm they indicated that it is likely to be restricted, in this scenario, the purchase of Consumer Goods not so necessary for the level of activity and with local substitutes, “but that explained 11% of external purchases so far in 2022”.
Meanwhile, as analyzed by LCG, despite the fact that during the remainder of the year a high level of importsproduct of higher international prices, “they will be conditioned by the total exported, so that the level of internal absorption does not affect the accumulation of reserves.”
“The fact that export prices continue at high levels encourages import control to be moderated, but the impossibility of the BCRA to accumulate reserves in these months suggests that the tap of dollars could be closed in any way. In turn, the typical seasonality of foreign sales, added to the higher energy purchases typical of the winter months, predict that the coming months will be at least unbalanced”, they underlined from LCG.
What can happen in the coming months
When analyzing what may happen in terms of trade in the coming months, from Ecolatina they pointed out that “the logistical problems due to the lack of diesel and the distortions generated by an exchange rate gap at high levels, could have affected the seasonality in the marketing of some agricultural products. “In this sense, we do not rule out that exports persist at these levels even after the heavy harvest is over”, they remarked.
“In turn, despite a possible strengthening of the dollar in the face of the FED’s more aggressive stance, we expect international commodity prices to remain high in the medium term, favoring the performance of our exports from agriculture”, they added from the consultancy.
In any case, the focus will be on the accumulation of reserves and, therefore, on imports. “Although it is estimated that the Trade Balance will show a considerably positive balance in 2022, the dynamics look challenging for what rest of the year with a BCRA that is finding it hard to buy foreign currency and rising imports: from January to May there was not a single month in which imports grew less than exports. Said trend would seem to accentuate in the coming months in the framework of a greater seasonal demand for energy and a lack of fuel”, they concluded from Ecolatina.