The leader of one of Argentina’s top trade groups is forecasting a “terrible” start to the next year for both the economy and business more generally.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s presidential run-off, which pits Economy Minister Sergio Massa against libertarian lawmaker Javier Milei, Entre Ríos Province businessman Natalio Mario Grinman said that "the first six months of 2024 will be terrible, whoever governs.”
Grinman, the president of the Cámara Argentina de Comercio (Argentine Chamber of Commerce, CAC), said in a radio interview that the leader of the next government faces an unenviable task, given the country’s economic woes and runaway inflation running at 140 per annum.
Argentina’s next leader, said the CAC chief, should be “honourable and predictable.”
"When people ask me how inflation is going to be, I tell them to enjoy today, because next year we are going to be worse," Grinman, 68, told Radio Rivadavia.
The business leader forecast that next year would be “very complex," but he sounded a note of optimism too. "With a good pair of glasses” it is possible to see “light in the future," he added.
Calling on the nation’s leaders to buck up its ideas, Grinman demanded that politicians "do things properly" and argued that "if the opposition is going to be opposition for the simple fact of opposing, Argentina is unviable."
"In Argentina there are businessmen who ask for protectionism – what happens is that the government has to know how to find a balance," the Concordia-born business leader stressed. "You cannot continue with a protectionist policy while things are put together with string.”
The head of the chamber of commerce said it would not be able to open up all markets indiscriminately but said that "we have to be intelligent in order to trade with the whole world.”
"Argentina is a country with extraordinary future possibilities, but it is not a normal country, because a normal country could not have more than 40 percent poverty and destitution, with all the potential wealth that we have here," said Grinman.
“This situation is for countries who do not have the resources we have. But in Argentina, the most serious thing of all is the uncertainty."