October 25, 2019
1. Electoral panorama
This coming Sunday, October 27th, Argentina will hold its national general elections, headlined by the contest between six presidential and vice-presidential candidates that were whittled down from a larger field during last August’s primary elections. Additionally, 130 of the 257 deputies across all districts will be selected, alongside 24 of the country’s 72 senators in different districts. Local elections will be held simultaneously in the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Rioja, Catamarca and the city of Buenos Aires. In anticipation of the mandatory end of campaigning, the candidates held their closing ceremonies. President Mauricio Macri returned to the province of Córdoba in a bid to strengthen his candidacy in a province where he had good results during primary elections. On the other hand, frontrunner Alberto Fernández appeared together with vice presidential candidate and former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in the coastal city of Mar del Plata, a district where the candidate he supported placed second behind the Macri-backed candidate. In this context, the electoral scenario remains highly polarized, and it is most likely that Fernández is elected above the threshold needed to force a second round. President Macri must not only improve his performance, but Fernández must lose a great deal of the support he obtained in August in order to keep his presidential hopes alive.
2. IDB loan for USD $300 million in provincial infrastructure improvements approved
The government accepted a USD $300 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in order to provide financial support for a federal regional transportation infrastructure project. Through Decree 727/2019, President Macri established the model for the loan. This loan will be added on to other multilateral financing agreements from the Latin American Development Bank (CAF) and the Plata Basin Financial Development Fund (FONPLATA) for a total loan of USD $1.02 billion.
3. Industrial companies presents proposals to Macri administration officials
Days after having met with presidential frontrunner Alberto Fernández and his economic team, the UIA, Argentina’s primary industrial employer federation, received Macri’s vice presidential candidate Miguel Pichetto and Production and Labor Minister Dante Sica to present their industrial proposals for the coming years. The high interest rates and a desire to reduce this figure over the coming months proved to be the chief concern among business leaders, who have long warned of the negative impact of high costs of credit on the economy. In response, Minister Sica promised to provide a response to the UIA’s proposals in the coming days.
BAE Negocios: Pichetto y Sica visitaron a la UIA
4. Government pays outstanding debts with funds from state-owned Banco Nación and Social Security
Under pressure from the devaluation of the Argentine peso, the Macri administration opted to take ARS $32 billion (USD $533.7 million) and nearly USD $176 million from the state-run Banco Nación and the National Social Security Administration (ANSES) to finance the government and pay off debts with private creditors. The decision was made official this Wednesday through joint resolutions 68 and 69 of the secretaries of finance and the treasury.
5. Government returns to provinces funds lost from lowering of VAT and income tax
Following the Supreme Court’s denial of providing the government with additional clarification, the Macri administration began to adhere to the ruling that requires the national government to return to provinces what was lost following a measure that reduced income tax and value-added tax (VAT) on essential foods. The government was sued by 14 of the country’s 24 provinces which demanded ARS $41 billion (USD $683.8 million) in compensation.