Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Argentine peso depreciated by a massive -378% against the US dollar since 2016 and deteriorated by -46.5% from 2019 to 2020. 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, a third (33.3%) of Argentina’s total imports by value in 2020 were purchased from Asia. Trade partners in Latin America excluding Mexico supplied 32.1% while another 18.2% came from Europe and 16.9% originated from North America.
Smaller percentages were furnished by Africa (1.6%) and Oceania led by Australia (0.4%).
Given Argentina’s population of 45.4 million people, its total $42.4 billion in 2020 imports translates to roughly $950 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 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Argentina.
- Machinery including computers: US$6.4 billion (15.1% of total imports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $4.8 billion (11.3%)
- Vehicles: $4.6 billion (10.9%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $2.6 billion (6.1%)
- Organic chemicals: $2.5 billion (6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $2.14 billion (5.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $2.11 billion (5%)
- Oil seeds: $2.1 billion (4.9%)
- Other chemical goods: $1.3 billion (3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.2 billion (2.8%)
The top 10 product categories represent 70% of total import purchases by Argentina.
Three categories increased from 2019 to 2020 namely oil seeds (up 23.4%), organic chemicals (up 7.2%) and pharmaceuticals (up 2.6%).
Decreasing the most were Argentine imports of mineral fuels including oil (down -38.8%) and electrical machinery and equipment (down -25.9%).
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under the adjacent virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2020, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$896 million (up 33.1% from 2019)
- Engines (diesel): $322.2 million (down -22.2%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $311 million (down -22.7%)
- Piston engine parts: $310.7 million (down -17%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $304 million (down -6.5%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $293.6 million (down -18%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $252.6 million (down -26.9%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $232.3 million (down -28.5%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $228.3 million (down -31.2%)
- Printing machinery: $211.4 million (down -12%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of computers including optical readers (up 33.1%) produced the lone gain from 2019 to 2020.
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 2020, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical goods including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$1.4 billion (down -16.6% from 2019)
- Insulated wire/cable: $341.4 million (down -19.3%)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: $280.6 million (up 3.6%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $229.3 million (down -9.9%)
- TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $203.4 million (up 6.9%)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $177.2 million (up 42.1%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $176.4 million (down -12.1%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $172 million (down -46.9%)
- Electric motors, generators: $142.1 million (down -13.2%)
- Electric storage batteries: $128.7 million (down -11.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of integrated circuits and microassemblies (up 42.1%), TV receivers, transmitters or digital cameras (up 6.9%) and TV, radio or radar device parts (up 3.6%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
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 2020, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Automobile parts/accessories: US$1.6 billion (down -20% from 2019)
- Cars: $1.6 billion (down -31.7%)
- Trucks: $538.5 million (up 13.6%)
- Tractors: $280.8 million (up 12.1%)
- Motorcycles: $218.5 million (up 12.1%)
- Chassis fitted with engine: $89.3 million (up 69.4%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $81.4 million (up 24%)
- Trailers: $37.9 million (up 16.3%)
- Automobile bodies: $33.2 million (up 65.3%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $29.4 million (down -15.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of chassis fitted with engine (up 69.4%), automobile bodies (up 65.3%) then motorcycle parts or accessories (up 24%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
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 2020, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Petroleum gases: US$1.2 billion (down -29.6% from 2019)
- Processed petroleum oils: $876.4 million (down -52.9%)
- Electrical energy: $288.8 million (down -18.8%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $134.2 million (down -6.8%)
- Tar pitch, coke: $26 million (down -23%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $17 million (up 50.7%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $13.8 million (up 4.4%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $9.5 million (down -83.7%)
- Peat: $2.1 million (up 16.7%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $798,000 (down -70.1%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 50.7%), peat (up 16.7%) then petroleum jelly and mineral waxes (up 4.4%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
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 March 2, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 2, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 2, 2021