Retail sales fell 3.8% in December and closed last year with a 11.6% decline, as reported by the Argentine Chamber of Medium Enterprises (CAME). The most affected items were footwear and leather goods (-15%) and jewellery and watches (-15.1%). Sales in stores decreased 8.4% annually but in the online mode rose 2.1% annually.
New Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Solá travels to Mexico today to participate in the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac). Its agenda includes a meeting with its host counterpart, Marcelo Ebrad, in order to reactivate the current bilateral trade of $ 2.6 billion that continues in deficit since 2008. Argentina is the fourth Latin American supplier of Mexico and 69% of its sales are manufactured goods.
Argentina collected 492 billion pesos ($8.2 billion) in tax revenue in December, up 53.9% versus the same month a year earlier, the Federal Public Revenue Administration (AFIP) reported. Thus full-year 2019 tax revenues climbed 48.5% to just over 5 trillion pesos. Inflation in 2019 is estimated at 55%, which implies a real drop in revenue close to 7 points. “Tax revenues were affected in 2019 by the economic recession and the deterioration in labour market indicators,” says the report.
Argentina’s biggest bank plans to oppose any attempt by Vicentin SAIC to restructure its $900 million of debt. Officials at state-owned Banco de la Nación have told Vicentin, one of the country’s biggest soybean exporters, the agricultural company must sell assets to pay down its obligations before seeking relief. Their viewpoint is key because the bank is the largest creditor for Vicentin, which last month missed a $350 million payment to farmers amid an economic crisis in the agriculture-dependent country.
“In the current context, strict regulations on the exchange rate are inevitable,” Production Minister Matías Kulfas said in an interview with Página 12. The former Central Bank official with close ties to President Alberto Fernández also announced he will begin this week a round of meetings with the productive sector representatives to review the trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union.
Labour Minister Claudio Moroni confirmed a lump sum 4,000-peso increase for private-sector workers with 3,000 pesos falling due with this month’s wage and the rest in February. It is not considered a bonus since it is to be incorporated into the basic salary. According to Moroni’s calculations, this extra payment will permit the lowest-paid fifth of the workforce or some 1.3 million workers to regain the purchasing-power lost last year.
The U.S. multinational computer hardware developer IBM has partnered with the Chamber of Fintech in Argentina to provide cutting-edge resources for the country’s banking and technology sectors. IBM plans to provide over 130 different services to affiliate companies and give access to various tech platforms. Entrepreneurs developing their own products and services with IBM’s suite might also be eligible to obtain subsidised credits while earning up to US$120,000 annually.