Located in the southern half of South America, the Argentine Republic shipped US$65.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 14.7% increase since 2015 and a 5.4% uptick from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Argentine peso depreciated by a massive -421.5% against the US dollar since 2015 and deteriorated by -71.4% from 2018 to 2019. Argentina’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 69.7% of products exported from Argentina were bought by importers in: Brazil (20.4% of the global total), Australia (12.2%), China (9.7%), United States (4.4%), Vietnam (4.2%), Chile (4.1%), India (2.8%), Netherlands (2.5%), Indonesia (2.4%), Switzerland (also 2.4%), Algeria (2.3%) and Peru (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, 31.7% of Argentina’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Latin American countries excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, while 29.6% were sold to importers in Asia. Another 14% worth of goods went to Europe with 12.4% going to Oceania led by Australia. Smaller percentages were consumed by buyers in Africa (6.5%) and North America (5.7%).
Given Argentina’s population of 45.1 million people, its total $65.1 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $1,400 for every resident in the South American country.
Argentina’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Argentine global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Argentina.
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: US$9.5 billion (14.6% of total exports)
- Cereals: $9.4 billion (14.4%)
- Vehicles: $5.8 billion (8.9%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $4.7 billion (7.2%)
- Oil seeds: $4.1 billion (6.3%)
- Meat: $3.8 billion (5.9%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $3 billion (4.5%)
- Gems, precious metals: $2.6 billion (3.9%)
- Fish: $1.8 billion (2.8%)
- Other chemical goods: $1.3 billion (2%)
Argentina’s top 10 exports were over two-thirds (70.5%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Oil seeds represent the fastest grower among Argentina’s top export categories, up 130.2% from 2018 to 2019. In second place was the meat category via its 48% gain. Cereals exported from Argentina improved by 24.5%, powered by expanded revenues from corn, soya beans and soya-bean oil sold on international markets.
Leading the decliners were miscellaneous chemical goods thanks to a -20.1% drop year over year.
At the four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Argentina’s most valuable exported products were soya-bean oil-cake and other solid residues (13.5% of its global total); corn (9.2%); trucks (6.1%); soya-bean oil (5.4%); soya beans (5.3%); wheat (3.8%); frozen beef (3.6%); unrefined gold (3.4%); crude oil (2.3%) then crustaceans including lobsters (1.7%).
Argentina posted an overall $16-billion trade surplus for 2019, reversing a -$3.7 billion deficit incurred one year earlier.
The following types of Argentine product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus.
Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: US$9.4 billion (Down by -4.7% since 2018)
- Cereals: $9.4 billion (Up by 24.7%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $4.6 billion (Up by 18.8%)
- Meat: $3.7 billion (Up by 52.5%)
- Oil seeds: $2.4 billion (Reversing an -$815.5 million deficit)
- Gems, precious metals: $2.4 billion (Up by 1.9%)
- Fish: $1.7 billion (Down by -13%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $911.2 million (Down by -13.7%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $885.2 million (Down by -11.7%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $807.7 million (Up by 3.1%)
Argentina has highly positive net exports in the international trade of food industry waste products and animal feed. In turn, these cashflows indicate Argentina’s strong competitive advantages under the food industry waste and animal fodder category.
Below are exports from Argentina that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Argentina’s goods trail Argentine importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$6.5 billion (Down by -21.8% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$6.2 billion (Down by -18.3%)
- Organic chemicals: -$2.1 billion (Down by -1.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1.41 billion (Down by -17.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.38 billion (Down by -9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$1.3 billion (Down by -20.7%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$1.2 billion (Down by -61.3%)
- Fertilizers: -$1 billion (Down by -6.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$703.3 million (Up by 6.5%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$574.4 million (Down by -23.7%)
Argentina has highly negative net exports and therefore a deep international trade deficit under the machinery including computers category.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Argentina’s competitive disadvantages in the global machinery market, but also represent key opportunities for Argentina to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Argentine Export Companies
Not one of Argentina’s corporations ranks among Forbes’ Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list relatively smaller exporters from Argentina. Selected examples are shown below.
- Al Este (wine)
- Aluar (aluminum)
- Bridas Corporation (oil, gas)
- Bunge Limited (grains, oilseed)
- Grupo Arcor (chocolates, cookies, ice cream)
- La Serenísima (dairy products)
- Loma Negra (cement)
- SanCor (dairy products)
- Transportadora de Gas del Sur (natural gas)
- Zanella (motorcycles)
In macroeconomic terms, Argentina’s total exported goods represent 7.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($903.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 6.7% for 2018. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Argentina’s total economic performance.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Argentina’s average unemployment rate was 10.63% for up from 9.2% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Argentina’s capital city is Buenos Aires.
See also Argentina’s Top Trading Partners, Argentina’s Top 10 Imports and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 17, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 17, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 17, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Argentina. Accessed on April 17, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 17, 2020