Argentina economic activity fell again in February as manufacturing, retail slump

Official statistics also show Argentina’s GDP shrank in Q4 of 2023, indicating the country has likely entered a recession

Economic activity in Argentina in February slumped by 0.2% monthly and 3.2% year-on-year, a report from the INDEC statistics bureau showed. The figures indicate that the country’s economy likely sank into recession, contracting in the final quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

The decline was driven by falling manufacturing and retail sales, partially mitigated by growth in mining and agriculture, according to INDEC’s Monthly Economic Activity Estimator report, published Tuesday.

Activity in the construction sector plummeted by almost a fifth (-19%) compared with February 2023. It was followed by financial services (-12.1%), manufacturing (-8.4%) and retail sales (-5.5%).

This was partially counterbalanced by mining (up 12%) and agriculture, which picked up by 5.5% as the country’s parched fields started to recover from 2023’s punishing drought. Fishing, a minnow in terms of its weight on the index, was up by 32% inter-annually.

The figures in the INDEC’s Monthly Economic Activity Estimate show that economic activity compared with the previous month was down by 0.8% in January and by 0.2% in February. The institute’s preliminary figures for the last quarter of 2023 show that Argentina’s gross domestic product shrank by 1.9%. The numbers, while still preliminary, indicate that the economy has contracted for two successive quarters — the technical definition of a recession.


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