Trade balance registers deficit for the eighth year in a row

Trade balance registers deficit for the eighth year in a row

Colombia closed 2021 with the eighth year in a row with a trade balance deficitaccording to data from the Directorate of National Taxes and Customs (Dian), curated and published this Monday by the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane).

(Imports grew 39.5% in 11 months of 2021).

According to the report for 2021, the country’s trade balance registered a deficit of US$15,424 millionmade up of a basket of exports that totaled US$41,224 million and US$56,648 in imports.

On the other hand, in 2020, external sales were US$31,055.8, while purchases totaled US$41,185.4 million, which at the close added a deficit of US$10,129.6 million.

Thus, between 2020 and 2021 Colombia’s trade imbalance increased by $5.295 million.

Mario de la Puente, director of the International Trade Observatory of the Universidad del Norte, explained that “Colombia’s trade deficit reflects the high concentration of exports in primary energy goods.”

In addition, the trade liberalization initiative of the 1990s, added to a high concentration of direct investments in the mining-energy sector, encourages a negative condition in small and medium-sized companies that prefer to grow in the domestic market than venture to export.Palm added.

(Manufacturing and agricultural products boosted imports in July).

On the other hand, the country’s trade deficit also increased at US$4,633.2 million when comparing 2021 with 2019. Two years ago the country’s balance was made up of exports of US$39,489.2 million and imports of US$50,270.8 million.
Since 2014 (see graph), Colombia has recorded eight years in a row with an imbalance in its trade balance.

The record for 2021 is, for example, double that of 2018 (US$7,040 million) and is similar to 2015 (US$15,581 million).

It is worth remembering that 2013 was the last year in which the country registered positive data in its trade balance (with a surplus of US$2,206 million), adding US$58,826 million in exports and US$56,620 million in imports.


When analyzing the last month of the year, both Dane and Dian explain that there was a deficit in the Colombian trade balance of US$1,268.3 million, while in December 2020 there was a deficit of US$880.3 million.

The exports in the last month of 2020 they added US$3,028.8 million in exports and another US$3,909.2 million in imports.

Now, when comparing December 2021 with the same month in 2019 (US$553.3 million), an increase of US$715 million is observed.

(Colombia, with one of the worst performances in its exports).


According to the Dane and Dian report, between January and December 2021, Colombian imports totaled US$61,101.4 million and registered an increase of 40.5%, compared to the same period of 2020.

In this period, manufactured imports totaled US$47,082.3 million and increased 40.5% compared to 2020. Purchases from the agricultural segment were US$9,003.6 million and increased 29.1%, compared to the same period in 2020

Finally, external purchases in the fuel group in this period totaled US$4,930.6 million and increased 67.3% compared to 2020.

Regarding the origin of imports, China took first place, which represented 24.2% of the total registered in the period January-December 2021; followed by foreign purchases originating in the United States (23%), Mexico ( 6.2%), Brazil (5.7%), Germany (3.4%), France (2.4%) and India (2.3%).

Only in December 2021 imports totaled US$6,210.3 millionwhich represented an increase of 49.9% compared to the same period of 2020 of US$4,142.5 million.


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