After the inflationary lunge of March, when the retail price index rose to 4.8%, April is presented with an inevitable deceleration, although lower than official expectations: economists foresee increases above 3.5% and in some cases, closer to 4%. Thus, the first four-month period would close with an increase of more than 16%, considering that the first quarter has already accumulated an increase of 12.9%, which is almost double the same accumulated period of last year (7.7%) before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Farm dollars continue to enter Argentina's economy in record amounts. In April, $3.03 bn in agro-export foreign currency liquidated; the highest figure for that month in 7 years.
Through Resolutions No. 106 and 107/2021, which were published late on Friday in a supplement to the Official Gazette, the National Electricity Regulatory Entity (ENRE) defined an increase "for the current year of 9% in the average tariff for Edenor and Edesur users, which will be in force as from May 1.
In over five months, 98,080 SMEs received financing through the line of credit for Productive Investment (LFIP) of the Central Bank (BCRA). Financial entities disbursed up to March 411,678 million pesos ($4.4 bn) in these loans, of which 19% corresponded to investment projects.
The industry recorded an increase of 17.8% in March compared to the same month of last year when the social isolation measures imposed by the pandemic began to affect production. In seasonally adjusted terms, the sector recorded an improvement of 4.1% compared to February.
The Government will pay next week to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) some $300 million correspondingly to the Stand-By program's interest maturity. It will be the second payment that the country will make this year, while the negotiation of the new program to refinance around $45 billion owed continues. Between the Fund and the Paris Club, the commitments total $7.6 billion in 2021, but the country is seeking to reschedule the principal maturities.
The financial debt restructuring carried out by some 40 companies in the last quarter of 2020 took the pressure off the exchange market for close to $500 million that would otherwise pay capital and interests.
Companies reduced their external debt by $5.68 billion over 2020. According to a report published yesterday by the Central Bank, private sector foreign commitments totalled $78.07 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, 6.8% less than a year ago.
Last week, Templeton and PIMCO began their exit from the country, divesting some $650 million in bonds issued under national legislation. With a high level of global acceptance, both funds kept their positions in local currency until the end of the first quarter of the year and abandoned, perhaps definitively, the Argentine market.
Economic activity fell 2.6% in February on a year-on-year basis, while compared to January, the decline was 1%, thus cutting a streak of nine consecutive months of growth. It was reported yesterday by INDEC, which highlighted that the Monthly Estimator of Economic Activity (EMAE) accumulated in the first two months of the year a decline of 2.4%.