Although consuming domestically 95% of the six million pigs it produces each year, Argentina has significant potential to increase production for export and looks set to sign a $27 billion investment deal with China this year. The plan could enable the annual production of 100 million pigs in the next eight years and could generate up to 100,000 jobs. Chinese importers are expected to visit Argentina in March.
Argentine tax withholding agency (AFIP) published in the Official Gazette, the regulation of the moratorium for SMEs and self-employed established in the so-called Law of Solidarity and Economic Reactivation approved in December. The moratorium will have an average of 42% on accumulated debts until the end of last year and a payment term of up to 10 years with incentives for those who enter as soon as possible.
Alberto Fernández administration will grant benefits to Argentinians who repatriate before March 31 at least 5% of their assets abroad. Those who accept the proposal will pay a reduced rate (1.25%) of 2.25% personal property tax on condition that they keep the funds in the country until December 31, either in bank accounts or in various investment options.
Telecom Argentina placed debt in local currency for AR$4.2 billion ($69.6 million) through the issuance of two negotiable obligations, one at 12 months (Badlar rate plus 4.75%) and another at 18 months (Badlar plus 5.25 %). The tender was led by a consortium composed of Macro, BACS, AR Partners and Balanz, with orders of up to AR$5.2 billion. The financing will allow the company to make investments in working capital and capex.
Argentina's Central Bank (BCRA) lowered the benchmark interest rate floor (Leliq) to 48% from a previous 50%, the fifth cut in under two months aiming at overcoming recession and lowering inflation. In that period Leliq has been lowered by 15 percentage points. Banks have been responding positively with loans to SMEs below expected inflation and personal credit lines with rates of around 45%.
Argentina’s soybean harvest for the 2019/20 season is forecast at 53.1 million tonnes, 2.1 million tones over the estimated in October, according to the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange. Favourable soil moisture levels in main planting areas completed earlier this month are behind the improved prospect. Conditions for oilseed and corn also remain good.
Argentina President Alberto Fernández issued a decree extending a freeze on diesel and gasoline prices until the end of February, saying that "a comprehensive analysis of tax update" will be carried out until then. The freeze was implemented by predecessor Mauricio Macri in August and already extended by Fernández in December. Fuel prices increased an average of 41.8% during 2019.
The Argentine government informed the sovereign debt negotiation schedule indicating that it will present its restructuring offer in the second week of March. A round of informational meetings will follow and in the last two weeks of that month, the expiration, closing and settlement of the offer will take place. The Senate is expected to pass the debt sustainability law next week after receiving approval in the lower house.
Argentina President Alberto Fernández begins his second international trip as head of state visiting Italy, Germany, Spain, and France, seeking support from their leaders for debt renegotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In his first scale in Italy he will meet with fellow countryman Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace, and afterwards with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, before heading to Berlin.
The International Monetary Fund excluded the outlook for Argentina in its latest report of expectations for Latin America and the Caribbean, due to the current "uncertainty" about its policy, said the director of the Department of the Western Hemisphere, Alejandro Werner. Until the next April review, the financial body will keep its October projections of a 1.3% drop in 2020 and an improvement of 1.4% in 2021.