Exports are plunging in Uruguay, raising fears of an economic downturn.
The Mercosur trade partner saw sales abroad drop by 21 percent in January, according to the Uruguay Exporters Union (UEU), whose reports are based on Customs Office documents. The trend is not new, but it’s getting worse. Over the last 12 months, exports fell by 16.7 percent on a yearly comparison, totalling just US$7.6 billion.
According to the report, 15 out of 20 of Uruguay’s main export markets bought less on the yearly comparison. Brazil, the leading destination of Uruguay’s products abroad, saw the most drastic change: a 49 percent plunge in January, with demand for plastics, meat and dairy products all collapsing.
China was next, and also showed a big drop in Uruguayan purchases, down 13.3 percent overall, with raw materials for clothing and dairy products comprising most of the decrease.
Only in India did Uruguay show a significant improvement, although the volumes sold were much smaller. A 20 percent rise in exports was registered for the Asian giant.
Uruguay’s main export is beef, whose sales abroad fell by 12 percent in January. Although Argentina’s Agriculture Ministry initially suggested that it would open the local market for Uruguayan meat, in the end no such trade was completed.
Region struggles with Brazil
Argentina’s exports to Brazil are also suffering.
According to a report based on official data released yesterday by the Abeceb consultancy agency, sales to Brazil only amounted to US$487 million, a 38 percent plunge in the yearly comparison.
Argentine sales to Brazil are now at their lowest since 2005, and bilateral trade overall began the year with a 20 percent decline.
Purchases from Brazil only fell by three percent, widening the trade deficit with the Mercosur partner to US$339 million on the month.
That helped Brazil post a trade balance of US$923 million in January, nearly double market estimate as a weaker local currency drags down imports. Imports totalled $10.323 billion and exports $11.246 billion, Brazil’s trade ministry reported.
Date: February 2, 2016