May 29, 2020
1. President extends mandatory preventative social isolation meaures through June 7th
Through Decree 493, President Alberto Fernández extended the country’s mandatory preventative social isolation measures through June 7th. Fernández first mentioned the extension last Saturday alongside city of Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Buenos Aires Governor Axel Kicillof. In this same address, he explained that 87% of cases are concentrated in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, adding that all permits to move within this area will expire on May 30th. This will require residents to obtain a new certificate. Fernández also announced that testing would increase in low-income areas as would government support for community eateries. He also announced his administration is working on a second emergency family income measure that was received by six million people in the first round. Additionally, help will continue through food cards and the universal stipend per child.
2. Government has until June 2nd to strike deal with bondholders
Last Friday, the Argentine government decided not to pay a sum of USD $503 million in interest from its 2021, 2026 and 2046 sovereign bonds emitted under foreign law, extending the negotiation deadline to June 2nd. Ratings agency Fitch downgraded Argentina’s foreign currency default rating to “Restricted Default,” while Standard & Poors downgraded the three bonds’ classification to “Default” from CC.
3. Many sectors in greater Buenos Aires given green light to resume operations
Through a series of administrative decisions published in the Official Bulletin, the government determined that certain sectors in greater Buenos Aires will be exempted from mandatory, preventative and social isolation and the corresponding restrictions on movement. The norms that authorize the resumption of these activities also require employers to gurantee their workers can arrive without having to take public transit. Additionally, people who fall under this umbrella of resuming businesses must apply for a new movement certificate.
4. Argentina registers positive trade balance due to sharp drop in imports
The Argentine statistical agency (INDEC) reported that the trade balance for April netted a positive result of USD $1.411 billion. Despite the surplus, the total value of exports fell 18.9% year over year to USD $4.33 billion, while imports fell 30.1% in the same time period to USD $2.92 billion. April registered a total of USD $7.25 billion in trade.
5. Public spending exceeds revenue in April
According to data from the Ministry of Economy, the primary fiscal deficit in the month of April reached ARS $228.82 billion (USD $3.37 billion). This comes as a result of a spike in public spending due to the health emergency that exceeds total revenue. Spending reached ARS $525.07 billion (USD $7.72 billion), while revenue only hit ARS $316.25 billion (USD $4.65 billion). Despite a revenue increase of 14%, it was not enough to reverse the negative balance. The financial result, which includes interest payments on debt, reflects a deficit of ARS $266.05 billion (USD $3.91 billion). The Ministry of Economy has informed creditors that the primary deficit by year’s end could be 3.1% of the country’s total GDP, which would be financed through monetary issuing.