The problem now is not just internal. Non-oil exports seem to have been infected by the situation of illiquidity and deflation that has left the economy numb. The growth rate of private sector sales to the world is more than three times lower than the first seven months of last year.
The latest report from the Central Bank reveals a deterioration in foreign trade, tinged by a small drop in banana exports in 2018, which contrasts with what happened a year earlier and has several factors that have played against it: the devaluation of the Russian currency, the ruble, and the restrictions imposed by the United States on Iran.
The picture is not encouraging. The economic crisis in which the Argentine market is debated, where Mauricio Macri has to auction dollars to avoid the fall of the peso, already plays in the minds of the banana workers, since the country of tango is one of the main buyers of fruit in the south of the continent (Southern Cone).
This year, the banana coffers stopped paying 2 million dollars. In the year 2017, in relation to 2016, the sales of bananas had increased $ 267 million. “Russia has stopped buying 15%. The situation is related to the devaluation of the ruble, which has made imports more expensive, “the Export and Commercialization Association of Banana of Ecuador (Acorbanec) tells Diario EXPRESO.
From January to August the ruble has depreciated. In January for each dollar 56.3 rubles were needed, in August 68.1, the value is the highest in monthly average in the last three years. The depreciation of the Argentine peso has been more dramatic, from 19.59 pesos per dollar that was required in the first month of the year, to 38 in August.
Iran, which weekly bought 150,000 boxes from Ecuador, last week only brought 10,000, while Algeria and Turkey continue to heat up.
The US embargo Iran causes no means of payment in foreign trade. Between Russia, the Middle East and the Southern Cone (Chile and Argentina) they acquire around 42.72% of Ecuadorian bananas (data to May), according to the Association of Exporters (Aebe).
The gradual and uncontrolled decadence of coffee, which has no response in the official sector, led to a 31% drop; 20.7 million stopped entering, which would be 47 if the 2017 fall is also added. “We are in a complicated situation, not only the industries, but the producers, because the harvest has fallen more than the Government imagines”, says Bernardo Arosemena, manager of ElCafé, whose main problem is the supply of raw materials.
The ‘golden seed’
The cacao does not stop its fall in the last two years, despite the recovery of the income of the factories that process it (industrialized). They are 50 million less in relation to 2016.
Fish exports surpassed the 1,000 million dollars in the last 7 months, 97 million more than last year, but incomparable with the 2016/2017 growth.
The shrimp, first
With $ 1,891 million the shrimp manages to be located above the banana (4 million more).
Oil exports generated the Ecuadorian State $ 5,124 million between January and July of the current year, compared to 3,817 million in the previous period.
The general trade balance (oil and non-oil exports) was positive at 106.9 million dollars. The rise in the price of crude oil, an established factor.
In a little less than 700 million dollars, imports increased in the current year, going to $ 2,421 million due to the elimination of restrictions. (I)