The first eight months of 2020 result in an 11.8% drop in exports, and a more pronounced 23.8% reduction in imports, only primary products had a positive variation of 10.2%, in a context of extreme scarcity of foreign currency. Exports reached $4.94 billion and imports $3.5 billion. The commercial exchange (exports plus imports) decreased by 15.3% concerning the same period of the previous year. A surplus of $1.44 billion is not good news in this context of the economy in a deep recession. If it grows again, that surplus will reduce rapidly. The bad news added to the data of the fall of the GDP and employment in Argentina.
The costs of industrial inputs grew between 10% and 50% in dollars, according to the different sectors, affected by the drop in supply and by the coverage against devaluation pressures. A report by the Argentine Industrial Pymes group (IPA) indicates that the most affected products are plastics and steel used by manufacturers of household appliances and materials for the automotive industry. The deterioration of the purchasing power of customers caused by the exchange rate instability is of concern because it ends up affecting demand.
According to INDEC, half of the people employed in Q2 2020, received a monthly amount of up to 27,000 pesos ($355), while the average income of those occupied was 31,868 pesos ($420). Statistics show that the labour income obtained by the population increased nominally by 15% concerning the second quarter of 2019; below inflation, with a drop of almost 20% in real terms. It anticipates a sharp increase in poverty and indigence levels. Also, social income inequality has widened.
Due to the fall in the population’s income, especially those with fewer resources, poverty will reach 46% of the urban population in the second quarter of the year. This figure projects to the entire country, including the rural community, which is 20.8 million people who lived with incomes below the poverty line.
Argentina’s biodiesel cluster, which generated exports of more than $1.2 billion in 2017, faces the last quarter of the year with a worrying projection: it estimates that it will produce 1.4 million tons in 2020, the lowest figure in ten years, affected by the fall in exports due to the pandemic and the freezing of the formula to update the price of biofuel in the domestic market. The situation has complicated SMEs and large companies; the domestic market shows a fall of 33% and exports a fall of 36% compared to 2019.
According to data from the INDEC, the unemployment rate was 13.1% between April and June, 2.5 points more than in the same period in 2019, which was 10.6%. The total loss of jobs was 3.9 million. The 2020’s Q2 was the most affected by the quarantine due to coronavirus, with a GDP’s fall of 19.1% year-on-year.
Estimates for the 2020/21 campaign detail that total grain production would be 120.8 million tons, which shows a drop of 6.1% concerning the previous cycle, while income from exports would show a contraction of 3% to reach $25.15 billion.
The sale of real estate in Buenos Aires City registered in August a decrease of 45.9% concerning the level of a year before. The total amount of transactions carried out decreased by 41.2%. It is the twenty-seventh consecutive month with a drop in the year-on-year measurement.
Metrotel and Silica Networks are two essential players in the telecommunications sector. The companies partnered in a joint investment of 10 million dollars for the construction of a new route of their networks to link Buenos Aires with the mooring stations of the submarine cables of international connectivity that arrive at the town of Las Toninas, in the Municipality of La Costa. The work included the construction and lighting of a high capacity fibre optic line of more than 450 kilometres.
Moody’s estimates that communication A 7106, which restricts the access of indebted companies to the official dollar market to cancel their obligations, will harm the capacity of local companies to pay in time and form. For the financial firm, the capital maturities of negotiable obligations (corporate bonds) between October 15, 2020, and March 31, 2021 (the period in which, in principle, this limitation applies) total $12.53 million.