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Uruguay’s exports to Africa grew by 41% in the first half of 2020

During the first six months of the year, Uruguay’s exports to Africa amounted to $226 million. The company leading the charge was Conaprole ($99.1 million), followed by Cofco International ($23.4 million). In terms of product categories, milk, dairy, and soy accounted for the bulk of the exports. In April, Uruguayan dairy exports grew by 207% and soybean exports by 50% compared to April 2019.



This picture show Uruguay's flag.

In the first half of the year, Uruguay’s foreign trade with African nations had a positive balance of $62 million, which implies a significant growth if it is compared with the first half of 2019 when the balance of foreign trade in Africa was negative at $192 million. The main products exported by Uruguay to the African continent are milk, dairy products and soybeans, according to the recently released report “Uruguay-Africa Trade Relations” by the Department of International Business and Integration (DNII) of the Catholic University of Uruguay.

The new report details the trade links between Uruguay and Africa in the period spanning January 2020 to June 2020. The document states that “a trade surplus was recorded with Africa. In the first half of the previous year, Uruguay had recorded a deficit of $192 million. In 2020, the trade balance was positive by $62 million, as exports increased and imports decreased. A total of $226 million was exported (41% more than in 2019), and products worth $165 were imported (53% less than in 2019).”

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Strong growth in milk and soy exports

This year, the massive growth of exports from between February and June stands out. April 2020 saw the highest export values of the year so far, with total values of $52 million, the DNII’s document states.

In April, Uruguayan dairy product exports grew by 207% and soybean exports by 50% compared to the same month of the previous year. In May, soybean exports grew 113% and in June, dairy products grew 132%. In the April-June quarter, dairy exports accounted for 47% of exports and soybeans for 40%, together accounting for 87% of all shipments of products to Africa.

The main destination country for Uruguayan product exports was Algeria, which accounted for 49% of sales for a total of $111 million. That’s a massive 40% more than in the same period in 2019. Uruguay’s second-largest export market in Africa has been Egypt (with purchases of more than $68 million), followed by South Africa ($19.8 million) and Senegal ($5.8 million). Exports to these four countries represented 91% of Uruguayan sales to the African continent, the DNII report stated.

Dairy products lead the charge

In the first half of the year, dairy products led exports to Africa with placements of $128.3 million to Algeria (85.4% of the total), Egypt (7.8%) and South Africa (3.7%).

In terms of companies, exports to Africa were led by Conaprole, with sales of $99.1 million. That’s 80% more than the same period in 2019. The Uruguayan dairy cooperative represented 44% of the country’s total exports to the African market, a 10% jump compared to the first half of 2019. Conaprole was followed at great distance by Cofco International Uruguay S.A. with shipments worth $23.4 million and Alimentos Fray Bentos S.A., which totaled $ 17.4 million.


(Featured image by MonicaVolpin via Pixabay)

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Andrew Ross is a features writer whose stories are centered on emerging economies and fast-growing companies. His articles often look at trade policies and practices, geopolitics, mining and commodities, as well as the exciting world of technology. He also covers industries that have piqued the interest of the stock market, such as cryptocurrency and cannabis. He is a certified gadget enthusiast.