Argentina's tax revenue fell sharply in April during the nationwide quarantine and lockdown, emphasisng how severely measures to contain the pandemic impacted the economy.
Revenue fell 10 percent in April from the previous month to 399 billion pesos (US$5.95 billion at the official exchange rate), the third consecutive monthly drop.
Compared to a year ago, tax revenue increased 12 percent, well below the 48 percent current rate of inflation from the last 12 months, according to government figures released Tuesday.
It is the first major indicator that illustrates the severity of the economic damage that's coming from the coronavirus pandemic. Argentina began a national quarantine on March 20, which officially ends on May 10, although it will likely be extended for at least another two weeks The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Argentina's economy will contract by 5.7 percent this year after declining in the past two years, while private estimates put the figure higher at above six percent.
The drop in tax revenue comes just as Argentina struggles to renegotiate US$65 billion in debt, much of it to foreign creditors. Some bondholders have already indicated rejected the government's offer, though Economy Minister Martín Guzmán says the nation cannot afford to pay more.
Guzmán told the Financial Times on Tuesday that a counter-offer made by creditors was deemed unacceptable to the government.
If the government does not reach an agreement with the creditors before May 22, Argentina will enter default for the ninth time in its history.