Argentina posts 1st trade surplus since Dec. ’16

Argentina posts 1st trade surplus since Dec. ’16

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) — Argentina had a trade surplus of $314 million in September, official statistics agency Indec said on Tuesday, the first since December 2016 and an early sign the devaluation of the peso currency has benefited the country’s exporters.

Economists say September’s trade balance improvement was driven by significant declines in imports of capital and consumer goods, as well as a more competitive peso currency that has benefited exporters.

“The trade surplus in September was the first sign of the expected trade and current account adjustment following the large currency devaluation and sharp slowdown in investment spending,” Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos said in a research note.

Argentina’s peso currency has roughly halved in value against the U.S. dollar so far this year, prompting the South American country to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a $57 billion standby financing deal, the largest in the Fund’s history.

Argentina’s agriculture sector withered early in 2018 after the worst drought in 60 years stemmed grain exports and dragged the country’s economy into recession.

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