January 28th, 2022
1. President Alberto Fernández announced a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund
Through a recorded message from the Olivos Residence, President Alberto Fernández confirmed today that the national government reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which will be sent to the National Congress for approval. In his message, the president assured that the agreement will not affect spending and allows an increase in investment in public works. On the other hand, Fernández stressed that, without the agreement, the economic and financing possibilities would have been seriously limited, adding that “this agreement does not condition us.” After the announcement, the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, and the Chief of Staff, Juan Manzur, gave a conference at the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy, where they offered details of the agreement. In this regard, Guzmán explained that a financing program of the same amount of the Stand-By agreement of 2018 was negotiated, of around USD 44 billion, while at the fiscal level the primary deficit will be reduced to 2.5% of GDP in 2022, to 1.9% in 2023, and 0.9% in 2024. At the monetary and financial level, there was a commitment to gradually reduce the Central Bank’s assistance to the Treasury. Regarding inflation, the development of sectors that can generate foreign currency will be promoted and the monetary fiscal scheme will be improved. Finally, the minister confirmed that there will be no exchange rate jumps and current policies will be maintained, expecting growth in Central Bank reserves of USD 5 billion. It’s worth mentioning that the agreement must be approved by the IMF board, as well.
2. The president summoned the Congress to Extraordinary Sessions
Through Decree 51/2022, President Alberto Fernández convened the National Congress for Extraordinary Sessions from February 1 to 28, 2022. This is a power the Constitution grants the president to make the Congress meet outside the ordinary period, which runs from March 1 to November 30 with a defined list of parliamentary projects. The outstanding initiatives Congress will seek to address are: Council of the Judiciary reform, promotion of the Sustainable Mobility project, creation of the Regime for the Promotion of Agroindustrial Development, promotion of investments in the Automotive Industry, and changes to the Compre Argentino and Suppliers Development Law.
3. The government relaxed requirements for entering the country
Last Wednesday, through Administrative Decision 63/2021, the national government established that Argentines and residents who are fully vaccinated will not need to present a negative PCR to enter the country, nor will they be obliged to quarantine. Foreigners who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter the country after undergoing a PCR test (72 hours before entry) or an antigen test (48 hours before entry). If it is negative, they will be exempted from quarantining. However, the measure makes an exception for foreigners who come from neighboring countries. As long as they are fully vaccinated, they will only be required to have COVID-19 medical insurance. Finally, foreigners who are not fully vaccinated, whether or not they arrive from bordering countries, will be required to submit a PCR test 72 hours before entering the country, carry out the mandatory seven-day quarantine, and have COVID-19 health insurance. This measure modifies the one implemented on December 31 after the appearance of the Omicron variant in the country.
4. Economic activity grew 1.7% in November
The National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) published the Monthly Estimator of Economic Activity (EMAE) for November, which revealed that economic activity grew 1.7% during that month and 9.3% year-on-year. The largest year-on-year increases occurred in “Hotels and restaurants” (59.8%) and “Mining” (20.4%). In contrast, the sectors that presented negative results included “Electricity, gas and water” (-0.2%) and “Fishing” (-6.0%). Finally, official sources stated that 2021 ended with 10% growth in economic activity.
5. The date of the National Census was confirmed
Last Tuesday, through Decree 42/2022, the president made the date of the National Census official, after postponing it in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held on May 18 of this year, which will be a national holiday. The 2022 census will have both face-to-face and digital stages. The e-Census application will be launched on March 16, 2022, which will allow those who prefer to answer questions from a mobile device do so rather than participate in face-to-face interviews on census day. As explained by the National Director of Social and Population Statistics of the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC), Gladys Margarita Massé, the form must be answered by one person on behalf of all the inhabitants of a domicile, for which it is recommended they “get the whole family together” when completing the data.