April 12, 2019
1. Government preparing measures to kickstart consumption
The Argentine government is in the process of evaluating a plan that will reactivate consumption through price freezes on basic household items, lower interest rates when paying with a credit card in installments, a line of credit with low interest rates for retirees and pensioners and greater social program investment. These measures were proposed during a meeting of governors from the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) party – a key part of the Macri administration’s coalition – following a complaint from the UCR desiring greater participation in decision-making.
2. IMF approves USD $10.835billion disbursement
The IMF has now loaned a record total of USD $77.478 billion to Argentina, following its fourth disbursement aimed at keeping the exchange rate stable. The Argentine peso made gains to the U.S. dollar, improving to ARS $44, however the J.P. Morgan Country Risk Index – which rolls together several variables relating to treasury bonds issued by the U.S. and another country to gauge that country’s attractiveness to investors – reached 803 points, the highest in 2019. On the other hand, the IMF also released a report forecasting the Argentine economy to fall 1.2% this year and unemployment to increase between 1% and 10%. Additionally, the report predicted inflation would reach 30.5% at the end of 2019.
3. Productive capacity compared to actual production falls in February
Argentina’s national statistical agency announced that the ratio of the country’s total productive potential to the percentage actually used for production fell to 58.5% in February 2019, a significant drop from the 64.4% figure registered in February 2018. Argentina’s worst-performing sectors included foods and beverages (57.6%), publishing (52.1%), plastic and rubber products (50.8%), textiles (43.2%), automotive (42.1%) and metal-mechanic excluding automobiles (42%). On the other hand, sectors like tobacco (72.9%), petroleum refining (71.7%), paper and cardboard (71.7%), chemical products and substances (69.4%) and basic metals (68.7%) produced at a rate above the national average, given capacity.
Ámbito Financiero: Industria: el uso de la capacidad instalada tuvo su peor febrero desde 2002
4. Government launches National Anticorruption Plan
The government officially launched the National Anticorruption Plan by means of Decree 258 of 2019. The plan establishes a series of guidelines aimed at preventing, investigating and punishing violations, as well as assuring a greater degree of transparency. The program will be effective through 2023, meaning it will continue in effect through the next four-year presidential term. More than 250 initiatives comprise the strategy to speed up the path towards transparency, integrity, institution-building and accountability. Among the projects are “mechanisms to improve transparency and efficiency of government contracting, with a special emphasis on public works.”
5. Argentina and Brazil propose lowering Mercosur tariffs on imports
President Mauricio Macri hosted Brazilian Chancellor Ernesto Araújo, where they agreed to advance a proposal to lower tariffs on imports from countries outside Mercosur. The effort would lower costs for businesses on capital goods like machines and computers in Mercosur countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. On the other hand, the French Development Agency approved a loan totaling USD $115 million to the Argentine Development Bank to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Additionally, flights between the Vaca Muerta shale formation and Houston will help transport heavy machinery for the hydrocarbon industry.