Economy adds signs of slowdown: low rate of imports of durable consumer goods

Chilean foreign trade provided signs of the slowdown that the economy is experiencing and, in particular, the spending item.

In April, national imports totaled US$ 8,098 million CIF, which shows an increase of 24.7% compared to the same month of 2021. This result showed a lower growth rate in the case of purchases of consumer goods , which have been falling -although from high levels- since October 2021 in annual terms. Last month they added US$ 2,333 million, which translated into an annual expansion of 22.7%.

But, within this group, purchases of durable goods advanced 5.1%, deepening the moderation observed since last August. In detail, cars rose 14.8% in April, from 32.8% in the previous period; computers fell 22.4% last month from an 18.9% rise in March; televisions deepened its decline, which was now 49.3%, from 48.7% the previous month. Only cell phones and household appliances rebounded in April: from 9.2% to 30.2% the first and from falling 4.4% to grow 5.1% the second.

For semi-durable goods – clothing and footwear – the outlook picked up last month, since purchases from abroad increased 82% in twelve months. And other consumer goods -meat, beverages and alcohol, gasoline, among others- accounted for a 19% rise, in line with the slowdown that began last October.

The acquisition of intermediate goods -such as energy and chemical products, among others- showed a positive variation of 30.7% in April, higher than the 27.4% in March, but lower than the 37.6% in February.

Capital goods -which include trucks and cargo vehicles, buses and machinery for mining and construction, among others- experienced a rise of 13.6% in April, over the March data, but lower than that of February.

Shipments continue to drop

The slowdown was more noticeable in exports: they totaled US$ 8,427 million FOB in April, rising only 0.8% in twelve months. The variation is the lowest since August 2020, when shipments contracted annually.

Mining once again showed moderation, since its sales abroad rose by 2.1% compared to April 2021. Copper reported a decrease of 11.4%.

The agricultural sector also suffered its shipments last month, reporting a twelve-month rise of 3.2%, from the 27.2% that grew in March. The fruit sector rose by only 8.3%, and the forestry sector showed some rebound from February and March, with exports rising 19.9% ​​compared to the same month in 2021. A contrast to extractive fishing, which had an increase of 22.4% last month, lower than the previous two months.

On the industrial side, the adjustment has also been deepening. Last month the annual variation accounted for a 2.3% drop, the first since January 2021.

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