Argentina Minister of Economy Martín Guzmán, meets today in New York with representatives of banks and investment funds holding sovereign bonds regulated under foreign law. The meeting follows another held yesterday in Washington with the Deputy Director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Julie Kozack, and the head of the Argentine mission, the Venezuelan Luis Cubeddu, both members of the technical mission that visited Buenos Aires last week.
The renewable energy company Genneia has pocketed $31 million as the first tranche of a $465 million corporate loan granted by the German Development Bank kfW. It will be destined for the Pomona II wind power plants that are already in operation and Chubut Norte II wind farm that is under construction and is estimated to be operational in September. Genneia owns 4 projects in Argentina: Rawson III, Villalonga II, Pomona II and Chubut Norte II, with an installed capacity of 66.48 MW
Argentina Economy Minister Martín Guzmán and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva agreed to start Article IV consultations, during conversations on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. The Article IV review might pave the way to changing the terms of the IMF $56bn stand-by loan for a new program. Guzmán is travelling to Washington today to hold further meetings with IMF staff.
Argentina’s recession-hit economy shrank by 2.1% in 2019, the INDEC national statistics bureau said. The economy contracted by 0.3% in December compared to the same period in 2018. The hardest-hit sectors that month were financial services (-10%), and construction (-8%). On the other hand, the fishing industry grew by 13.5%. GDP had already dropped by 2.5% in 2018.
The average income of Argentine workers has slumped by 44.3% in dollar terms since 2015, according to a report by the Universidad Nacional de Avellaneda (Undav). This was predominantly due to the peso’s heavy devaluation and real wage lag during the last four years. The decline was even sharper when measuring the purchasing-power of the minimum wage, which passed from representing $589 at the end of 2015 (AR$5,588 at that time) to the current $268 (AR$16,875 pesos) – a plunge of almost 55% in only four years.
The net formation of external assets of Argentine residents, known as ‘capital flight’, was $60 million in January, the lowest level in almost a decade, according to the last exchange balance of the Central Bank (BCRA). The ‘services’ account registered a currency outflow of $26 million, a sharp reduction compared to $686 million in the same month of 2019. Argentina capital flight broke the historical record in 2018 with an outflow of $27.3 billion that year.
Argentine bond prices fell 1.3% on Thursday after an IMF technical mission essentially gave the government a green light to restructure about $100 billion in bonds and loans, including $44 billion owed to the IMF. Argentine bond prices are down 4.8% so far this year. Country risk spreads 11EMJ stood 82 basis points wider at 2,117 over safe-haven U.S. Treasury paper, indicating an increase in the perceived likelihood of default.
Argentina’s debt load is unsustainable, the International Monetary Fund said after completing a week of meetings in the country, paving the way for the government to ask private bondholders to take on losses as it prepares to renegotiate its obligations. A “meaningful contribution” will be necessary from private bondholders to restore the country’s debt sustainability, the IMF said at the end of its first technical mission in Buenos Aires under Alberto Fernandez’s presidency.
Economy Minister Martín Guzmán is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia on Thursday for a G20 meeting, where he will meet with IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva and hold a series of bilateral meetings to review Argentina’s debt restructuring plans. Georgieva will have on the table fresh data collected by the IMF mission lead by Julie Kozak and Luis Cubbedu that finishes today a week working in Buenos Aires.
The real salary of the formal worker in Argentina fell 6.1% in 2019, according to the Average Stable Workers Compensation Rate (Ripte), published by the Ministry of Social Security. In December, it advanced 2% in monthly terms and was well below the national CPI that measured Indec in the same period at 3.7%. However, the fall is expected to be greater among informal employees, data that the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Indec) will publish on February 28.