What is behind the drop in exports in the first quarter?

What is behind the drop in exports in the first quarter?
What is behind the drop in exports in the first quarter?

The exports They fell 14% year-on-year in March and drove the decline at a quarterly level, after a start that looked positive, with two consecutive increases at the beginning of the year, according to data from Uruguay XXI.

A good part of this decrease is explained by the drop in placements of beef, of 27%, as well as the collapse of sales towards China, which, although it continues to be the second main destination, had a decrease of 50% in March.

The report of Foreign trade produced by Uruguay XXI reflected that beef, with placements of 156 million dollars, were dethroned as the main exported product, being surpassed by cellulose, which had sales of 182 million.

Specifically, the exports They fell 2% in the first quarter of 2024, after an improvement of 3% in February and an increase of 8% in January, which contrasted with the decline in March. However, if loans without free zones are analyzed, the variation was zero between January and March.

Exports to China plummeted

What happened in the business relationship with China explains a good part of the decline. Although the Asian giant continued to lag behind Brazil and was ranked second as an export destination in March, with sales of 87 million dollars (12% of the total), this amount represents a 50% decline compared to the same period. month of 2023.

In the year-on-year comparison, exports of beef fell 53%, while that of meat byproducts decreased by 24%. which fell 24%. In addition, a 71% drop was recorded in exports of woods and its products. Meanwhile, during February it had shown a decline of 25% in February and 6% in January.

Something similar happened with the European Union (EU), fourth in the ranking of destinations, with 8% of the total (50 million dollars), a decline of 45% compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile, in February it had improved by 4% in February and a decrease of 34% in January.

In this case, the fall also had to do with the beef, with a drop of 26%, while the rape and the carinata They had an even more negative impact, as they were not exported last month, in contrast to $25 million in March 2023.

What happened to Brazil, the main trading partner?

With respect to Brazil, a strategic partner and main export destination, sales were 160 million dollars in March, with a slight drop of 0.4% year-on-year, as a result of the improvement in sales of vegetables and wheat, compensating for the losses of dairy and malt.

Meanwhile, in February, the total amount was $147 million, an increase of 3%, driven by vehicles and unprocessed barley. Finally, the neighboring country had a great January in 2024, with an improvement of 26%, with Uruguayan exports worth 173 million dollars, thanks to good levels in sales of malt, vehicles, beef and rice.

Source: Ambito

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