Located mostly in the southern cone-shaped portion of South America, the Argentine Republic bought US$49.1 billion worth of imported goods in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -17.8% decline since 2015 and a -25% downturn from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Argentine peso depreciated by a formidable -421.5% against the US dollar since 2015 and slipped by -71.4% from 2018 to 2019. Argentina’s weaker local currency makes its imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from the Argentine peso.
From a continental perspective, almost a third (31.1%) of Argentina’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from Asia. Trade partners in Oceania led by Australia supplied 21.2% of imports purchased by Argentina while 19.7% worth of imported goods originated from Europe. Another 16.9% came from exporters in North America (16.9%), Latin American countries excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (9.8%), and Africa (1.2%).
Given Argentina’s population of 45.1 million people, its total $49.1 billion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $1,100 in yearly product demand from every person in the South American country.
Argentina’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Argentina’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Argentina.
- Machinery including computers: US$7.6 billion (15.4% of total imports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $6.4 billion (13.1%)
- Vehicles: $5.6 billion (11.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $4.2 billion (8.5%)
- Organic chemicals: $2.4 billion (4.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $2.12 billion (4.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $2.07 billion (4.3%)
- Oil seeds: $1.7 billion (3.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.4 billion (2.8%)
- Other chemical goods: $1.3 billion (2.7%)
The top 10 product categories represent 70.8% of total import purchases by Argentina.
The smallest reductions from 2018 to 2019 were Argentina’s imports of miscellaneous chemical goods (down -1.1%) and organic chemicals (down -2.8%).
Decreasing the most were Argentine imports of vehicles (down -48.8%) and oil seeds (down -35.4%).
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2019, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$673.1 million (down -9% from 2018)
- Engines (diesel): $414.4 million (down -35.6%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $402.3 million (down -4.7%)
- Piston engine parts: $374.4 million (down -6.6%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $358 million (down -12.1%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $345.7 million (down -26.6%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $331.7 million (up 11%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $325 million (down -30.6%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $324.7 million (up 8.4%)
- Turbo-jets: $276 million (down -8.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of transmission shafts, gears and clutches (up 11%) and miscellaneous machinery (up 8.4%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery-related imports among Argentine businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical goods including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$1.7 billion (down -18.7% from 2018)
- Electric motor parts: $763.6 million (up 16.1%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $423.1 million (down -19.5%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $324 million (up 12.1%)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: $270.9 million (down -57.1%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $254.7 million (down -21%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $240.2 million (up 386.8%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $213.4 million (up 3.6%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $200.8 million (down -32.9%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $192.5 million (up 20.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 386.8%), electric generating sets and converters (up 20.5%) then electric motor parts (up 16.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electronics-related imports among Argentine businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$2.4 billion (down -55.2% from 2018)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $2 billion (down -28.4%)
- Trucks: $474.2 million (down -64.6%)
- Tractors: $250.6 million (down -54.9%)
- Motorcycles: $194.9 million (down -61.2%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $65.6 million (down -48.6%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $60.6 million (down -16.7%)
- Chassis fitted with engine: $52.7 million (down -39.5%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $34.8 million (down -40.8%)
- Trailers: $32.6 million (down -25%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of trucks (down -64.6%), motorcycles (down -61.2%) then cars (down -55.2%) declined at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Argentine businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$1.9 billion (down -33.7% from 2018)
- Petroleum gases: $1.7 billion (down -30.7%)
- Electrical energy: $355.6 million (down -8.6%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $144 million (down -50.4%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $58.3 million (down -25.5%)
- Tar pitch, coke: $33.7 million (down -20.1%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $13.2 million (down -12.6%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $11.3 million (up 243.8%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $6.9 million (down -23.2%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $2.7 million (down -46.4%)
Among these import subcategories, only Argentine purchases of high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 243.8%) increased from 2018 to 2019.
Due to its -50.4% reduction, the greatest decline year over year belongs to the coal product category which includes solid fuels made from coal.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Argentine businesses and consumers.
See also Argentina’s Top Trading Partners, Argentina’s Top 10 Exports and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. 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