August 21, 2020
1. Judicial reform bill receives nod from Senate
On Thursday, the Constitutional and Justice and Penal Issues committees hosted a virtual meeting to debate the justice reform bill proposed by the executive branch. The bill received committee approval, thanks to the majority the president’s Frente de Todos party enjoys in the upper house. The opposition Juntos por el Cambio party, on the other hand, rejected that the bill proposes a “judicial intervention” and criticized the fact that the bill received approval without debating in the plenary session of the Senate to learn its details. The project will be voted on in the Senate on August 26th.
2. Economic activity suffers -12.3% drop compared to June 2019
The Argentine statistical agency (INDEC) released its monthly economic activity report (EMAE), which reported a -12.3% drop in economic activity compared to June 2019, despite registering an uptick of 7.4% compared to May 2020. The most affected sectors include hotels and restaurants (-62.7%), fishing (-53.6%) and construction (-41.9%). On the other hand, financial brokerage (+4.8%) and electricity, gas and water (+3.6%) reported positive increases.
3. Government formally presents debt restructuring offer to U.S. SEC
On Monday, the Argentine government presented its debt restructuring offer to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The offer had been publicized on Sunday through a Ministry of Economy statement. Creditors will have until August 28th to approve the agreement that restructures approximately USD $65 billion in sovereign bonds. Following this date, the government must begin talks with the IMF to obtain a new payment program that will replace the plan signed two years ago by the Mauricio Macri administration.
4. Productive Development Minister offers details on post-pandemic economic plan
In a discussion with El Cronista, Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas provided details on the economic and employment reactivation plan. Among the primary measures, Kulfas confirmed that efforts will be concentrated in carrying out export-oriented policies, especially for the agricultural, energy, manufacturing and knowledge economy sectors. On the other hand, he revealed that, together with the Central Bank, they will have between one and two points of the GDP at “reasonable rates” to turn to working capital and investments over the next 12 to 18 months. Additionally, regarding price controls, he assured that they will seek to “validate rational increases”, taking into account the evolution of salaries and business margins.
5. Labor Minister assures that the pandemic’s effects on employment have been minimized
Labor Minister Claudio Moroni confirmed in an interview with Página 12 that the pandemic’s impact on the labor market has been reduced to a minimum as a result of the measures taken by the state, such as the moratorium on dismissals and the Labor and Production Assistance program (ATP). Additionally, he projected that the effects on employment are less in relative terms to those experienced in countries like Brazil, Chile or the United States. Moroni also defended the remote work law, which he described as a collaborative cross-party effort that establishes undisputed tenets such as reversibility or housekeeping tasks, which every sector will adapt through collective bargaining.