The INDEC national statistics bureau confirmed Wednesday that Argentina’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 10.3 percent in 2021 – its first year of growth since 2017.
The data is encouraging reading for the government and comes on the back of a 9.9 percent slump in 2020, mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In December, INDEC’s monthly economic activity estimator (EMAE) registered a rise of 9.8 percent year-on-year, said the bureau, an increase of 0.9 percent compared to the previous month. Compared with December 2019, before the arrival of Covid-19 in Argentina, EMAE had risen 7.1 percent.
Last year’s annual growth of 10.3 percent is the highest rate recorded since EMAE began being recorded in 2004, surpassing the previous peak of 10.1 percent in 2010. It is also the first positive rate after three years of contractions (of 2.6 percent in 2018, 2.2 percent in 2019 and 9.9 percent in 2020).
The data reinforces the thesis that Argentina is now finally overcoming the recession into which it fell in 2018 and which worsened in 2020, the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, when GDP slumped significantly.
In December 2021, 13 of the 15 sectors measured by the EMAE showed a positive improvement on December 2020, with hotels and restaurants (up 43.5 percent) and transport and communications (16.9 percent) standing out. Manufacturing grew by 9.9 percent.
The only sector that recorded a decline in the annual comparison was fishing (down 4.7 percent), while financial intermediation was unchanged (zero), according to INDEC.
Retaining economic growth and momentum is a non-negotiable issue for the Peronist government in its talks with the International Monetary Fund to restructure and refinance more than US$44 billion in debt.
According to the IMF, Argentina’s economy will grow by around three percent this year.