Paraná’s water level is the lowest since 1944, the result of a prolonged drought upriver, in southern Brazil. Amidst the drought, ships travelling on the Paraná have been forced to reduce their soy, corn and wheat cargo by 25%, with larger cuts looming. In July, the Argentine government announced a $10.4 million relief fund to offset these economic losses. Government officials have advised citizens to “save water,” and capture rain for home and commercial use. Within these dry conditions, officials are also urging people to stop burning waste or igniting fires to provide pasture. As the Paraná shrinks, thousands of wildfires have raged in the last two years, lighting skies with an eerie orange hue visible from rural farmlands as well as urban luxury apartments.
The Argentine government Monday launched a training program for young people, aiming to give them equal access to jobs in the software and related sectors. The program plans to train 60,000 young people by the end of the year. Various industries of the knowledge economy, such as software and computer systems, video games, audiovisual production and post-production, directly and indirectly employ 450,000 people and have the potential to create another 100,000 jobs, said the Government.
The first half of the year closed with a record foreign currency inflow of $16.6 billion. The determining factor for the record liquidation of foreign currency from the countryside was the high international prices, particularly for soybean and corn, which showed increases of around 40% during the last eight months.
The government announced yesterday the launching of 54,175 new personal and mortgage loans through the federal programs Casa Propia and Procrear II. The investment of around 132 billion pesos ($1.38 bn) will create more than 116 thousand jobs.
During the first half of the year, Argentina recorded a trade deficit with Brazil of $582 million. The data are from the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade. Although imports have shown greater dynamism than exports, the latter showed their highest growth in 25 years.
During April, economic activity contracted for the third consecutive month, registering a 1.2% decline compared to March in the seasonally adjusted measurement. The level of activity is still 3.1% below the pre-pandemic. The restrictions to avoid the second wave will also reflect in the May figure.
In May, the Central Bank recorded a foreign trade cash surplus of $2.36 billion, some $742 million more than what was reported last week by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) based on Customs declarations. The data show the substantial improvement recorded by trade due to the increase in soybean prices and an advance in the rate of foreign currency liquidation by exporters.
In July, more than $700 million will be due between bonds and cancellations of bilateral and multilateral loans, according to data from the Ministry of Economy. Argentina will pay the 2020 swap bonds, the first instalment to the Paris Club and other international credits. Foreign currency commitments for $6.5 billion are pending this year, most of them with the IMF.
June would close with foreign exchange earnings from the agro-export sector of around $2.6 billion, a figure down from May's record of more than $3.5 billion, but in line with the historical average.
The government disbursed 2020 more than 100 billion pesos ($1.05 bn) in assistance and financing to SMEs. They represent 26 times more than the 3.8 billion pesos ($39.77 mn) earmarked for the sector in 2018 and far exceeds the 3.5 billion pesos ($36.63 mn) executed in 2019 i.e., it is an increase of 2,757%.