Merchandise exports rose 4.6% yoy in December (November: +8.7% yoy). November’s result was the worst since February 2021. Meanwhile, imports of goods fell 6.3% yoy in December (November: -7.4% yoy).
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a deficit of $2.0 billion in December (November 2022: deficit of $1.0 billion; December 2021: deficit of $1.8 billion). Finally, the trend has worsened, with the 12-month delayed Merchandise Trade Balance posting a deficit of $15.4 billion in December, compared to a deficit of $15.9 billion in November.
Members of the Latin Focus Forecast Committee expect merchandise exports to rise by 1.7% in 2023 and imports to fall by 2.1%, resulting in a trade deficit of US$9.0 billion. In 2024, our team estimates merchandise exports to grow by 3.0% and imports by 2.9%, with a trade deficit of US$9.2 billion.