China became Argentina’s largest trading partner in April, a new report has revealed, with the Asian powerhouse displacing neighbouring Brazil.
According to a study based on data from the INDEC national statistics bureau, China represented 11.7 percent of total sales and 14.1 percent of all imports in the fourth month of the year.
The report, released by the Argentine Chamber of Exporters (Cámara de Exportadores de la República Argentina, CERA), said that Argentina recorded a surplus of US$98 million in April, compared to a US$351 million deficit recorded in the same month of the previous year.
Argentina had posted deficits with the Asian giant in January (US$468 million), February (US$385 million) and March (US$253 million).
Overall, exports to China totalled US$509 million in April, against US$338 million the previous year, CERA said.
The majority of the trade that month was composed of soybeans (52 percent), beef (29 percent) shrimps and prawns (8 percent) and animal or vegetable fats and oils (six percent)
Chinese imports reached US$411 million in April, way down on US$689 million in the same month of the previous year.
Since the beginning of 2020, trade both to and from China has risen. Exports to China increased to US$1.211 billion (up four percent year-on-year), while imports grew to US$2.841 billion (up by 4.7 percent).
The CERA report said that the re-opening of sections of the economy and delayed shipments were behind the surplus, coupled with a drop in imports.
“There was a boost coming from the reopening of factories, delayed export orders and the sale of medical equipment, but analysts believe that until the situation improves in the rest of the world, China will face a more fragile external demand."
INDEC does not supply country-specific data for Argentina-Brazil trade as it groups sales from Mercosur nations together. However, financial daily Ámbito Financiero reported this week that data from Brazil’s Development, Industry and External Trade Ministry showed a 44.7 percent drop in April year-on-year – the biggest fall witnessed since February 2009.