The Basic Food Basket (CBA) registered an increase of 5.1% in December, and in 2020 showed a cumulative growth of 45.5%, above the general inflation of 36.1%. The Total Basic Food Basket (CBT) cost, which includes clothing and transport, increased by 4.7% in December, and 39.1% in the year. Utility and transport fares are included in the Total Basic Basket and have been frozen since the beginning of the year, while in the Food Basket the food item is predominant and rose the most in recent months.
The recession, the pandemic and the quarantine hit the labour market very hard, compared to a year ago, there are 1,907,000 fewer jobs nationwide. In the third quarter of last year, there was a year-on-year drop of 9.2%.
The National State accounts closed 2020 with a primary deficit of 1 trillion 749,957 million pesos ($20,265.85 bn), equivalent to 6.5% of GDP. The account between what it borrowed and what it repaid showed a financial deficit of 2 trillion, 292,830 million pesos ($26,552.75 bn), equivalent to 8.5% of GDP. Source: Ámbito
Wholesale prices rose by 4.4% in December and by 35.4% in 2020, higher than in November (4.2%). This acceleration was mainly driven by agricultural products (7.2%) and hydrocarbons (8.6%).
According to government estimates, the measures implemented to contain the adverse effects of covid-19 were equivalent to 4.9% of GDP. It forced the national administration to seek financing and, although it bet on public debt placements in the local market, a large part came from the Central Bank's monetary assistance: the entity turned over 8.2% of the GDP to the Treasury.
Although the swap agreed with the creditors, during 2020 in pesos and foreign currency, the national public debt grew by $13.02 million. According to the Ministry of Finance, it rose from $323.06 in 2019 to $336.09 billion in 2020. This level of public debt does not include the obligations of the provinces or the Central Bank. And it is estimated to be around 100% of GDP versus 89.5% in 2019.
The national public sector ended 2020 with a primary deficit in the order of 400 billion pesos ($4.68 bn) which represents 7.4% of GDP. But in reality, if it had not been for the aid represented by the Central Bank's contributions to the Treasury, this deficit would have amounted to 2 trillion pesos ($23.33 bn).
Customs reported a total of 2,812 over-invoicing operations for imports and under-invoicing of exports for the equivalent of $330 million during 2020. Given the context of fragile foreign currency reserves that the Central Bank of Argentina is going through, the manoeuvres increase the exchange rate's complexity.
The state oil company YPF announced a 3.5% average adjustment to its fuel prices, starting at midnight this Saturday. This increase includes the increase of the Liquid Fuels Tax (ICL) and the Carbon Dioxide Tax (IDC) of 7.7% that came into effect from this Friday, as provided by the national government.
In December, inflation was 4%, the highest in the whole of 2020, so it closed last year with a rise in retail prices of 36.1%, 18 percentage points below the 2019 figure. The accumulated rate of inflation is in double digits for 16 consecutive years and is the ninth year in which it has exceeded 25% annually. Because there are still underlying pressures, inflation in 2021 could exceed 45%.