Merchandise exports rose 1.1% year-on-year in December, following November’s 4.4% increase. The December figure marks the slowest expansion since August 2020. Meanwhile, imports of goods grew 6.9% yoy in December (November: +4.8% yoy).
As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a surplus of $6.3 billion in December (November 2022: a surplus of $4.7 billion; December 2021: a surplus of $7.5 billion). Finally, the trend worsened, as the 12-month delayed merchandise trade balance posted a surplus of $58.2 billion in December, compared to a surplus of $59.3 billion in November.
FocusEconomics Consensus forecast committee members expect merchandise exports to decline by 3.1% and imports to remain stable in 2023, with a trade surplus of US$33.6 billion. In 2024, they expect exports to grow by 0.5% and imports by 1.8%, with a trade surplus of US$30.0 billion.