BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s revenue from exports of grain, oilseeds and their derivatives plummeted 61% in January from a year ago, exporters and crushers chamber CIARA-CEC said on Wednesday, in a setback as the country tries to refill foreign currency reserves.
Exports totalled $928.37 million in the first month of the year, also falling 75% over the previous month, as the world’s largest exporter of soybean oil and meal grapples with a severe drought that has delayed fieldwork and affected grain output.
Lack of rainfall in Argentina, also a major supplier of corn and wheat, has delayed planting of the local soybean and corn crops, while cutting wheat output by nearly half. The government has pledged to support some 54,100 farmers affected by drought with tax and credit benefits.
CIARA-CEC added in a statement that the export drop also came after a preferential exchange rate for soy exports expired at the end of December, as the South American nation tried to boost shipments of the grain.
Revenue from agricultural exports represents a much-needed dollar inflow for economically battered Argentina, which faces a crisis marked by sky-high inflation and a weakening local currency.
In 2022, according to CIARA-CEC data, soymeal shipments accounted for 14.2% of Argentina’s total exports, although roughly 50% of its soybean processing capacity is currently idled.
The chamber also noted that corn exports represented 11% of total exports last year, while soybean oil shipments reached a 6.9% share.