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ECONOMY | 24-07-2020 01:42

Economic activity slumped 20.6% in May from previous year

INDEC confirms 13.2% contraction in first five months of 2020, though activity was up 10% on April, recovering some of lost activity during pandemic lockdown.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, economic activity slumped 20.6 percent in May, accumulating a fall of 13.2 percent in the first five months of the year, the INDEC national statistics bureau reported on Wednesday.

The numbers reflect the heavy impact of the lockdown, imposed by the government and adopted to halt the spread of Covid-19, on the levels of production and consumption.

In one bright spot, the figure for May was up 10 percent on April, thus recovering some of the losses from the pandemic, INDEC underlined, an improvement due to more flexible restrictions, especially in provinces least affected by Covid-19.

With the exception of fisheries (up an impressive 61.5 percent), every sector fell in May compared to the same month last year with the worst collapse suffered by hotels and restaurants (74.3 percent).

But other activities also plunged such as community, social and personal services (72.1 percent) and construction (62.2 percent) while manufacturing industry was down 25.7 percent, transport and communications 21.6 percent and commerce 20.9 percent. Mines and quarries fell off 20.3 percent, as did social services and health.

Sectors declining below average were public administration, defence and social security (12.5 percent), education (9.1 percent), water, gas and electricity (5.1 percent) with the financial sector suffering the least (down 4.3 percent) due to the partial return of banking activity in May.

The data arrives on the back of more than two years of recession with Gross Domestic Product shrinking 2.5 percent in 2019. This year’s contraction is estimated at 9.9 percent according to the most recent forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), though private estimates put the figure closer to 12 percent.

– TIMES/NA/AFP

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