The latest readings represent upside to our forecast for 2017, currently at $62 billion.
The trade surplus reached $5.2 billion in October, slightly above our forecast ($5.0 billion) and somewhat below market consensus ($5.3 billion). Exports totaled $18.9 billion, falling 0.5% mom/sa. Meanwhile, imports totaled $13.7 billion, declining 2.2% mom/sa. Compared to October 2016, exports climbed 31.1% and imports went up 14.5%.
Over 12 months, the trade surplus increased again to $67.7 billion and the year-to-date figure is the highest in the historical series started in 1992. The seasonally-adjusted annualized quarterly moving average remains around $65 billion, reflecting stability of the trade balance at the margin.
Exports climbed 31.1% yoy, adjusting for the number of working days. Growth was again led by sales of basic items (42.3% yoy), which expanded for a tenth consecutive month (supported by the good performance of commodity prices compared to last year, as well as larger quantities). Sales of manufactured and semi-manufactured goods advanced 21% and 26.2% yoy, respectively. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, exports slid 0.5%, after two consecutive months of increases.
Imports advanced again in year-over-year terms, by 14.5%, in a broad-based move that included higher purchases of capital goods (18.7% yoy), intermediate goods (7.9% yoy), consumer goods (9.3% yoy), and fuels and lubricants (68.2% yoy). On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, total imports decreased 2.2%, after four months of gains and remain at a historically-low level.
October figures showed stabilization of the trade surplus at the margin. Good export performance and the fact that imports remain at low levels have ensured all-time high trade surpluses throughout the year. The latest readings represent upside to our forecast for 2017, currently at $62 billion.