Buenos Aires Times

Economy in brief: GDP, deficits and a wine slump

A brief round-up of the main stories from this week.

Saturday 28 October, 2017
INDEC. Foto:Cedoc.

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The economy grew 4.3 percent in August as compared to the same month last year, the sixth consecutive month of growth and the third running at an annual pace above four percent, INDEC statistics bureau announced on Tuesday. Some sectors even improved on mid-2015 levels but the economy as a whole has yet to progress beyond a statistical rebound from the severe contraction of 2016 to reaching new heights. INDEC posted August economic activity as 0.3 percent superior to July with 2.4 percent growth in the first eight months of the year. The sectorial breakdown showed construction and industry to be ahead of retailing and the financial sector with “mining and quarries” the only one of the 15 branches to register decline (-2.1 percent). Like the economy as a whole construction grew for the 6th month running and for the 3rd with a double-digit annual rise (up 11.7 percent in August), thanks in large measure to public works although also housing mortgages (which also boosted financial markets).


The government overshot its fiscal deficit target of 4.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product in the third quarter to close at just over half that level at 2.2 percent of GDP or 222.38 billion pesos, Treasury Secretary Rodrigo Pena announced Tuesday. Pena underlined that this fiscal success was achieved despite the third quarter falling in the midst of the electoral calendar, including the PASO primaries.. Revenues (up 29 percent) were outstripping public spending (+ 19 percent), which in turn was rising below the rate of inflation thanks to subsidy cuts, Pena elaborated. Transfers to the provinces only rose nine percent.


The INDEC national statistics bureau says the government posted a trade deficit of US$765 million in September. That’s the ninth straight negative balance of the year, bringing the total deficit for the year so far to US$5.2 billion.


The US Commerce Department this week laid out its preliminary anti-dumping duties for biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, though a representative said the government here has asked for a suspension of the move. The Foreign Ministry played down the move, saying that the tariffs – which may reach as high as 64 percent – had already been applied in August, making access to the US “impossible.” Argentina last year accounted for two-thirds of US biodiesel imports, totaling 916 million gallons (3.5 billion litres), US government data says. The Argentine government says it is working toward an agreement with the US to suspend the measure.  


Worldwide wine production tumbled 8.2 percent this year to hit a 50-year low due to unfavourable climate conditions, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) said this week. The total output of 246.7 million hectolitres was due in large part to steep drops in the top three wine producing countries: Italy, France and Spain. Argentina rebounded from a bad 2016 harvest, with output shooting up 25 percent to 11.8 mhl.



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