June 18, 2021
1. Inflation rate for May reported at 3.3%
The Argentine statistical institute (INDEC) released its consumer price index for the month of May, which revealed a 3.3% inflation rate for the month and 48.8% since the same month last year. Although inflation slowed down compared to April’s rate (4.1%), prices have increased 21.5% since the beginning of 2021, quickly approaching the 29% assumption used by the government for budgetary purposes. The sectors that saw the sharpest increases were transportation (6%), health (4.8%), restaurants and hotels (3.7%), and food and beverages (3.1%).
2. A government representative traveled to the United States to deepen bilateral relations
Chamber of Deputies President Sergio Massa began his U.S. trip, meeting with Juan González, U.S. President Joe Biden’s Latin America advisor, who visited Argentina in April. There they discussed issues related to the pandemic, vaccines, the role of President Alberto Fernández in the region, the situation in Nicaragua, October’s legislative elections and the renegotiation of the debt with the International Monetary Fund. In turn, sources from the Argentine delegation pointed out that the United States sees the need to refocus its relationship with Latin America in view of China’s advance in the region, and that Argentina could be an intermediary in that agenda. Additionally, Sergio Massa met with the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, Gregory Meeks, who stressed that “Argentina has a key role in the region” and with Julie Chung, Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the U.S. State Department, along with other Democratic Party leaders. As part of his visit, Massa went to New York and gave a conference before the Council of the Americas, where he remarked that “no country in the region” can “tolerate political prisoners,” within the framework of the abstention of the national government in the Organization of American States (OAS) to release political prisoners.
Ámbito Financiero: Massa: “Hay una enorme vocación de Estados Unidos de colaborar con Argentina”
Infobae: “La Argentina tiene un lugar clave en la región”: Meeks recibe a Massa con elogios en el Capitolio
Télam: Día de reuniones y charlas para Sergio Massa en Estados Unidos
Infobae: Sergio Massa: “Ni en Nicaragua ni en ningún país de la región podemos tolerar presos políticos”
3. Government enacts income tax reform for individuals
Via General Resolution 5008/21, the Argentine tax agency (AFIP) set into motion the modifications to income taxes that will exempt those earning below ARS $150,000 (USD $1,572) monthly and reduce the rate for those earning between ARS $150,000 and ARS $173,000 (USD $1,813). The law will officially take effect for June wages. Additionally, the law stipulates that withholding taxes collected between January and May will be returned to eligible individuals in five identical monthly quotas beginning in July.
Ámbito Financiero: AFIP oficializó los cambios en el Impuesto a las Ganancias
4. The Vice President requested for the reform of the health system
Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner inaugurated a new building for the Hospital Interzonal de Agudos specialized in pediatrics, Sor María Ludovica, in the city of La Plata. She was joined by the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof. The former president said that the pandemic should be removed from the political arena and called on the opposition to stop repeating that vaccines are useless. She also made reference to Grupo Clarín and stated that the “degree of concentration and repetition in unison that it has does not exist anywhere else in the world.” As part of her speech, she once again advocated for the comprehensive reform of the healthcare system and singled out prepaid health insurance companies, stating that “they no longer know where to put people,” due to the saturation of the healthcare system as a result of the second wave of cases of COVID-19.
5. Energy Secretary confirms that electricity, gas and fuel rates will remain frozen through the end of the year
Energy Secretary Darío Martínez confirmed that there will be no more increases in the second half of 2021 for gas, electricity and fuel services. In this sense, he explained that, although prices are pressured by the increase in the price of oil, the government will not increase rates, as they consider that “there are already many difficulties.” Furthermore, when referring to the segmentation of gas tariffs, he assured that it is necessary to “make intelligent use of subsidies.” Regarding the Vaca Muerta field, he said that financing is being sought “which could be from China, with whom a memorandum of understanding has been signed.”