Industrial production in Argentina fell 7.1 percent in August compared to the same month last year for a cumulative plunge of 12.5 percent as against the first eight months of 2019, the INDEC national statistics bureau announced on Wednesday.
Manufacturing industry had been showing incipient signs of recovery since May with activity up from the previous month but August was 0.9 percent down from July.
In recession since 2018, the Argentine economy has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic in a country quarantined since March 20. In recent weeks the measures have been slackened in accordance with the epidemic situation in each district.
"According to a special survey during the sanitary emergency, 54.1 percent of local manufacturers operated normally in August while 45.9 percent operated partially or were productively inactive," explained INDEC in a communiqué.
Among the local manufacturers unable to function normally, "51.5 percent declared that the main cause was not being able to count on the necessary staff due to quarantine and 25.3 percent said that the main cause was lack of demand."
In August 12 of the 16 sectors analysed were down on the same month in 2019. The steepest year-on-year plunges were transport equipment (-42.5 percent); garments, leather and footwear (-30.7 percent); precision engineering (-29.3 percent); basic metal industries (-25.2 percent); textiles (-19.4 percent) and vehicles and auto parts (-17 percent).
The only sectors registering growth were chemicals (+10.4 percent); furniture (+10.2 percent); machinery and plant (+5.2 percent) and tobacco (+8 percent).
Despite the year-on-year fall, the auto industry, the main driving force of the manufacturing sector, is showing signs of recovery, according to the industry’s Adefa (Asociación de Fábrica de Automotores) chamber.
According to Adefa’s monthly report, the 32,149 units produced in September registered a rise of 24.4 percent over August while 16.1 percent up on the same month in 2019.
But through to September the auto sector has sagged 31.3 percent as against the first three quarters of 2019.