February 18th, 2022
1. The board of the International Monetary Found reviewed the progress made on the agreement with Argentina
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board of Directors met to review the progress of the agreement with Argentina for a new extended facilities program. This new program, which has an exceptional access level because it contains disbursements above the usual ones, involves USD $ 45 billion, an amount that allows refinancing the 2018 Stand By. The spokesperson for the Presidency of Argentina Gabriela Cerutti said “there was a staff meeting, these are all steps towards the agreement. The Government is conducting at the same time the direct dialogue with several countries that are part of the board. We are taking steps in the right direction towards the best possible agreement of the largest contracted debt.” Meanwhile, in the case against Argentina for securities tied to the GDP, Judge Loretta Preska, of the Southern District of New York, did not grant a claim of the Government that sought to block the addition of new plaintiffs to the lawsuit.
La Nación: “Acceso excepcional”: el board del FMI volvió a discutir la negociación con la Argentina
Ámbito: El board del FMI dio luz verde al acuerdo con la Argentina y se acerca el cierre de la negociación
2. Monthly inflation rate reached 3,9% in January
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (Indec), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 3.9% in the first month of 2022 and accumulated an interannual variation of 50.7%. The items that increased the most were Food and Beverages (4.9%) and Communication (7.5%). It is worth mentioning that core inflation, a measurement of free prices without regulations and seasonality, was 3.3% last month, compared to its previous measurement which reached 4.4%. According to the Secretariat of Domestic Trade, Roberto Feletti, more state regulations are required aimed at reducing the growing trend of inflation, especially in the food sector. He also mentioned that “State interventions have to be more powerful and with more tools.” It should be noted that the Secretariat of Commerce currently implements the “Care Prices” program, a basket of more than 1,300 mass consumption products with managed prices.
3. The public hearing to determine electricity rate increases in Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area began
The public hearing to analyze increases in electricity rates for the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires begun last Wednesday. During event, the Nation’s Secretary of Energy, Darío Martínez, confirmed the increases will range between 17% and 20% this year, clarifying that the government will observe that they do not harm the purchasing power of society. The new measure would apply to the main distributors in the area, EDENOR and EDESUR. The discussion about the tariff increases takes place amid the Argentine government’s negotiation with the IMF, that has among its main requests reducing energy subsidies due to its direct effect on the fiscal deficit.
4. Offshore oil exploration: Government appealed Court´s decision
Through the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the government appealed the precautionary measure of the Mar del Plata court that prohibits offshore oil exploration off the coast of Mar del Plata. The court sustains that this activity carried out by the Norwegian company Equinor Argentina, could damage the marine fauna. However, the decision to appeal the ruling is centered on the fact that it harms production, economic activity, and the generation of jobs in the coastal cities. Furthermore, Secretary of Energy of the Nation Darío Martínez stated that the ruling ignored the environmental protection measures taken in offshore explorations.
5. Air traffic controllers strike: Aerolineas Argentinas rescheduled 101 flights
The operation of flag carrier Aerolíneas Argentinas was affected on Friday 18 due to an air traffic controllers’ strike. The group of workers is represented by the Association of Air Navigation Safety and Security Employees and Technicians (Atepsa), who are demanding wage increases. The rescheduling of 101 flights will affect approximately 12,000 passengers. More people might be affected in the days following the strike.