Merchandise exports fell 12.2% year-on-year in December, versus an increase of 0.6% in November. The December figure marks the sharpest decline since August 2020. Meanwhile, imports of goods fell 3.5% year-on-year in December (November: +5.4% yoy), marking the weakest result since November 2020.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved compared to the previous month, recording a deficit of USD 23.8 billion in December (November 2022: deficit of USD 23.9 billion; December 2021: deficit of USD 21.1 billion). Finally, the trend has turned to the downside, with the 12-month delayed Merchandise Trade Balance posting a deficit of $285.6 billion in December, compared to a deficit of $283.6 billion in November.
In the 2022 fiscal year, members of the committee expected exports to increase by 7.5% and 19.3%, respectively, bringing the merchandise trade deficit to US$277 billion. In the 2023 fiscal year, committee members expected exports to increase by 0.8%, while imports will decrease by 2.4%, resulting in a merchandise trade deficit of US$256 billion.