Image via Wikimedia Commons

Argentina’s recession kept worsening in the second quarter of the year, the government’s INDEC statistics bureau reported this afternoon. The country’s GDP plunged 3.4 percent in April-June, compared to the same period last year with declines in manufacturing, construction, investment and consumption. That means the economy shrank 1.7 percent in the first six months of the year, compared to January-June of 2015.

When the second quarter is compared to the first, GDP dropped 2.1 percent, according to official data.

The figures mean that the second quarter of the year marked the third consecutive quarter of GDP declines.

Senior members of President Mauricio Macri’s administration have said the country will start growing again by the end of the year, or early 2017. According to the draft budget the administration presented to Congress, the government expects the economy to grow 3.5 percent in 2017.

Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay sounded a more optimistic tone today when he spoke at a forum with French business leaders at the Foreign Ministry today.

“It’s very likely that once we have the numbers of the third quarter, when September is over, we will see that it was in this quarter that the economy stopped declining,” he said.