August 6th, 2021
1. COVID-19: President Alberto Fernández announces a plan to ease restrictions
President Alberto Fernández announced that the national government has a “plan for the recovery of activities.” The president stated that, as of Saturday, August 7th, the existing restrictions on social gatherings will start to be gradually reduced, and that compulsory school attendance will return. The President announced that the next step would be the return of the public to mass events. Fernández also highlighted in his announcement the progress of the vaccination campaign, given that 78.1% of the population over 18 years of age already received at least one dose, and said that the challenge was to increase the delivery of second doses, mainly to people over 50 years of age (40.5% of this group received both doses). In addition, the President said that, when conditions allow it, tourism will be allowed for people who received both vaccines, starting with countries in the region.
2. The national government re-launched the consumer program “Ahora 12”
By means of Resolution 753/2021, the Domestic Trade Secretariat extended the consumer program, Ahora 12, until January 31st, 2022. This initiative allows financing of the purchase of goods, such as household appliances and furniture, with credit cards in three, six, 12, and 18 installments, while 24 and 30 installments options were added. The Ministry of Productive Development issued a press release stating that the program aims to “boost economic activity by stimulating the consumption of domestically produced goods.” Beyond the publication in the Official Gazette, President Alberto Fernández held a ceremony in Cañuelas to relaunch the program with the Chief of Cabinet, Santiago Cafiero; the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán; the Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas; and the local Mayor, Marisa Fassi, among others.
3. The International Monetary Fund officially allocated Special Drawing Rights to Argentina
On Monday, the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) equivalent to USD $650 billion, as of August 23rd. The purpose of this allocation will be to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country will receive close to USD $4.35 billion from the distribution of funds that arose from the claim of a group of countries (including Argentina). Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner publicly expressed that the SDR allocation should be used to pay down the debt the country has with the IMF.
Ámbito Financiero: El FMI aprobó la asignación de los DEG por u$s650.000 millones
4. The construction workers’ union obtained a pay increase of 47.8% in its wage negotiations
This week, the Construction Workers Union (UOCRA), led by Gerardo Martínez, closed wage negotiations with several companies and obtained a pay increase of 47.8%, 12% more than agreed to in April, when it achieved a figure of around 35.8%. Thus, the construction sector, which is composed of about 320,000 workers, will receive an increase in line with the inflation estimated by the Relevamiento de Expectativas del Mercado (REM) prepared by the Central Bank (48%). The increase will be distributed in seven tranches (three more than in April).
5. Industry increased its activity by 10.5% in June
Last Thursday, the Argentine statistical agency (INDEC), through the Manufacturing Industrial Production Index (IPI), reported that industrial activity rebounded by 10.5% in June compared to May, thus halting a monthly decline recorded since April. On a year-on-year basis, the sector grew by 19.1%, driven by the automotive sector (which grew by 103.6% year-on-year), clothing and footwear (68.2% year-on-year), and basic metals (61.6% year-on-year). Also, according to the INDEC report, in June, construction activity increased 28.6% year-on-year and 6.8% compared to May.