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ECONOMY | 23-03-2021 21:26

Official: Argentina's economy shrank 9.9% in 2020, confirms INDEC

Economy shrank by 9.9% in 2020 year-on-year due to the coronavirus pandemic – its worst fall in almost 20 years.

Argentina's economy shrank by 9.9 percent in 2020 year-on-year due to the coronavirus pandemic, its worst fall in almost 20 years, the INDEC national statistics institute said on Tuesday.

The slump – the worst since GDP plunged by 10.9 percent in 2002 – was nonetheless not as bad as the 11.8 percent drop initially projected by the IMF. It was, however, one of the deepest contractions recorded in Latin America.

In terms of bright spots, GDP did rise 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter of the year on the previous. However, compared to the same period in 2019, the fourth quarter registered a 4.3 percent slump. 

Measurements were down across the board, said INDEC, with consumption down 13.1 percent and investment down 13 percent on the previous year. Exports decreased by 17.7 percent and imports were down 18.1 percent compared to 2019.

The worst-affected industries were hotels and restaurants (down 49.2 percent), community, social and personal services (down 38.9) and construction (down 22.6).

Fishing (down 20.9 percent), domestic services (down 18.6), transport and communications (down 17), and mining exploitation (down 10.5) were also hit hard.

Imports meanwhile fell 18.1 percent, exports fell 17.7 percent, consumption dropped 13.1 percent and investment slowed by 13 percent.

Manufacturing wasn't as badly hit but still shrank by 7.7 percent.

On the flip side, financial mediation grew by 2.1 percent and electricity, gas and water saw an increase of 0.9 percent.

The worst period in 2020 was between April and May when measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus were at their strictest.

The data means that 2020 is now officially Argentina's third year of recession, following contractions of 2.6 percent in 2018 and 2.2 percent in 2019. The country is also recording one of the world's highest inflation rates (40.7 percent from March 2020 to February 2021, while poverty now afflicts 40.9 percent of the population.

The IMF has forecast that the economy will rebound 4.5 percent, though the government expects that figure to be closer to seven percent.

– TIMES/AFP

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