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Argentina Economy 1999

    Economy—overview: Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. However, when President Carlos MENEM took office in 1989, the country had piled up huge external debts, inflation had reached 200% per month, and output was plummeting. To combat the economic crisis, the government embarked on a path of trade liberalization, deregulation, and privatization. In 1991, it implemented radical monetary reforms which pegged the peso to the US dollar and limited the growth in the monetary base by law to the growth in reserves. Inflation fell sharply in subsequent years. The Mexican peso crisis produced capital flight, the loss of banking system deposits, and a severe, but short-lived, recession in 1995; a series of reforms to bolster the domestic banking system followed. Real GDP growth recovered strongly, reaching almost 9% in 1997. In 1998, increasing investor anxiety over Brazil, its largest trading partner, produced the highest domestic interest rates in more than three years and slowed growth to 4.3%. Despite the relatively high level of growth in recent years, double-digit unemployment rates have persisted, largely because of rigidities in Argentina's labor laws.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$374 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 4.3% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$10,300 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 7%
    industry: 37%
    services: 56% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 25.5% (1991 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 14 million (1997)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 12%, industry 31%, services 57% (1985 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 12% (October 1998)

    revenues: $56 billion
    expenditures: $60 billion, including capital expenditures of $4 billion (1998 est.)

    Industries: food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel

    Industrial production growth rate: 2% (1998)

    Electricity—production: 64.669 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 45%
    hydro: 44.3%
    nuclear: 10.7%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 67.509 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 330 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 3.17 billion kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: sunflower seeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, wheat; livestock

    Exports: $26 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Exports—commodities: cereals, feed, motor vehicles, crude petroleum, steel manufactures

    Exports—partners: Brazil 31%, US 8%, Chile 7.0%, China 3%, Uruguay 3% (1997 est.)

    Imports: $32 billion (c.i.f., 1998 est.)

    Imports—commodities: motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts, organic chemicals, telecommunications equipment, plastics

    Imports—partners: Brazil 23%, US 20%, Italy 6%, Germany 5%, France 5% (1997)

    Debt—external: $133 billion (1998 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $2.833 billion (1995)

    Currency: 1 peso = 100 centavos

    Exchange rates: peso is pegged to the US dollar at an exchange rate of 1 peso = $1

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)