Beyond the evident impact of the coronavirus on the foreign trade of Latin American countries, visible in the reduction of exports not only to other countries but also on the intraregional front, the crisis that produced the pandemic has made two things clear: a high lack of support to exporters and the implementation of recursive measures to try to cover the circumstances in the face of weak short-term expectations.

A survey carried out by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) of 532 exporting companies in the region, in 10 South American countries, including Colombia, and 15 in Central America and the Caribbean, in addition to Mexico, reveals that in the face of a drop of 30 percent percent in external sales, a trend that will continue until at least July, the sector is looking with "feet and hands" to find the way to be affected as little as possible in the face of the difficult situation that the consumption and demand for goods and services are going through.

In general, external sales fell both for reasons of supply (mandatory or voluntary quarantine in many countries) and demand, although the former (as a whole) had a greater weight (51 percent compared to 41 percent).

First, the survey shows that almost 8 out of 10 companies (77 percent) said their exports fell in the first quarter. But it is striking that of this total, more than a third (36 percent) have seen sales drops of more than 61 percent and even in the totality of what they sold before the crisis, while another 21 percent recorded falls between 31 and 60 percent.


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