Buenos Aires Times

economy ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gov't remains positive despite first-quarter slump in industry, construction

Argentina's economy crisis is having a toll on three key areas of the country's economy.

Tuesday 7 May, 2019
A 10th straight month of decline.
A 10th straight month of decline. Foto:NA

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Argentina's car manufacturing, construction and industrial output experienced sharp declines in March and April, according to reports by the INDEC national statistic bureau and the ADEFA car manufacturers chamber.

Industrial production fell 13.4 percent in March, for an eleventh consecutive month of decline, while INDEC's construction indicators were 12.3 percent down on the same month last year, a seventh consecutive month of decline. Manufacturing in the first quarter of 2019 was 11.1 percent down on the same period of 2018.

Nonetheless, the Mauricio Macri administration projected some signs of optimism, despite the bleak results, with the Interior Ministry reporting Monday that INDEC's data showed "positive data indicating the first quarter ended positively despite the negative numbers in March."

The construction industry, it pointed out, "closed the first quarter with 4.4 percent growth, without seasonality, which was the first quarterly increase of its kind since the fourth quarter in 2017." 

Car manufacturing slumped in the first quarter, with a 33.9 percent drop in production in April compared to the same month last year, ADEFA reported.

Just over 30,000 cars were manufactured locally in April, with the crisis in the sector showing no signs of letting up.

Of those, 20,532 were exported – a 2.6 percent drop from March and a 3.2 percent decline interannually. In the wholesale market, 28,469 vehicles were included – a 15.5 percent drop on March data and a 60.9 percent drop year-on-year.

During April, sales of vehicles fell 52 percent in relation to the same month of 2018, a recent report from ACARA revealed.

CONSTRUCTION & INDUSTRY

Construction and industrial output all showed signs of decline, INDEC reported.

Industrial production fell 13.4 percent in March, compared to the same month the previous year. In the first quarter of 2019, industrial production fell 11.1 percent compared to same period of 2018, INDEC added.

The construction sector is also suffering major economic challenges, with production dropping 12.3 percent in March. 

Production fell 3.5 percent in March year-on-year, while first quarter production this receded 11.3 percent compare to the same period last year.

Despite slight growth in inter-annual comparisons in January and February, the sector reported its seventh consecutive month of declines, the INDEC reported.

Construction sector bosses estimate the sector's decline will continue until at least the second quarter of this year.

Transportation costs in the sector have risen 14.5 percent this year, the FADEEAC transport federation reported.

Among the variables affecting prices, gas rose 3.5 percent in April with costs having risen 13 percent so far this year.

The economy as a whole contracted 2.5 percent last year. The IMF predicts a further 1.2-percent in GDP by 2019.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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