Ouch. This isn’t any old deficit – Brazil has just registered its worst month ever, in terms of trade. Imports outweighed exports by $4.06bn in January, despite a weaker real that should, in theory, be giving a boost to exports.
But how bad is it really? Beyondbrics had a quick dig into the numbers.
After several months in the eye of the global emerging markets storm, Indonesia received some respite on Tuesday when it reported an unexpected trade surplus and a slowdown in the inflation rate.
Annual consumer price inflation fell to 8.4 per cent in September from 8.8 per cent (a four-year high) in August, while Indonesia reported a positive trade balance of $132m for August in contrast to July’s record $2.3bn deficit.
Emerging market assets have had a rough time since the Fed started talking tapering – especially South Africa, with the rand weakening dramatically in recent months.
A little relief came on Friday in the form of better than expected monthly trade data, which showed South Africa’s trade deficit shrank faster than expected during May.
In the run up to this month’s trade data from South Africa, there were a couple of different theories doing the rounds.
One was that the deficit would get a lot worse, based on a the timing of holidays and the recent industrial unrest (hurting exports); the other was that the trade account would get a lot better, based on the weakening rand and a pick up of exports to China. The Bloomberg analysts consensus was for a slight improvement at R8.5bn ($945m) deficit.
Which was right?
It may not be a surplus, but it’s some positive economic news for India: the trade deficit has narrowed again.
Data published by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry show that the trade gap declined to two-year low of $10.3bn in March – compare that with the deficit of $14.9bn in February and $13.5bn in March 2012.
India’s trade gap has narrowed to $14.9bn in February, down from $20bn a month earlier and $17.7bn in December – on the surface an improvement, but there are worries lurking underneath.
According to data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Monday, exports rose 4.2 per cent year-on-year to $26.3bn in February, while imports grew at a slower 2.7 per cent over the year to $41.2bn. Compared with January, imports have actually fallen from $45.6bn and exports are up from $25.6bn.
What rebound? After the catastrophic floods of late 2011, Thailand should by now be hoping for something closer to normality in terms of trade.
Instead, it’s got the biggest trade deficit on record in January – a whopping 5.5bn, the largest since 1991. What’s going on?
India’s trade deficit rose to $20bn in January, according to data published on Wednesday by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This is up from a figure of $17.7bn in December.
Ouch. This isn’t any old trade deficit, this is a record trade deficit. South African imports minus exports hit R21bn ($2.4bn) in October, a far cry from many analysts’ predictions of around R15bn.
The trade deficit was R13.8bn in September. So what’s gone wrong? As so often in recent economic data releases, mining troubles are part of the picture but there’s more to it than that.
The next few rounds of South African data will show what effects the strikes of the last few months have had on Africa’s largest economy. On Wednesday, there was an early taster: the trade deficit.
The country recorded its biggest monthly trade deficit in more than three years in September, at R13.8bn ($1.5bn), putting the cumulative deficit for the year at R83.7bn ($9.6bn).
Monday’s economic data from India are unlikely to inspire confidence, with manufacturing staying flat, exports down and the trade deficit up.
According to HSBC and Markit, the purchasing managers’ index for India fell marginally to 52.8 in August, from 52.9 in July. Meanwhile, Indian exports fell 14.8 per cent, to $22.4bn, in July, while imports fell 7.6 per cent, to $37.9bn, producing a $15.5bn trade deficit, according to government data.
Another tidbit of good news for the embattled Indian economy: the country reported its smallest trade deficit in more than a year for the month of June, according to provisional numbers released by the commerce ministry on Friday.
The deficit was $10.3bn, compared with $16.3bn in May and $14.4bn in June 2011.
Will Peru have to start taking advantage of its international reserves and counter-cycle fund sometime in the not-so-very-distant future?
A gloomy April suggests yes. The world’s second biggest silver, copper and zinc producer and sixth biggest gold producer has logged its first monthly trade deficit since April 2008, as well as a steep drop in gold production.