The Argentine economy grew by 1.1 percent in January this year compared to the same month in 2016, according to figures from the Monthly Economic Activity Estimator (EMAE) released yesterday by Indec statistics agency. This represents the first year-to-year rise in nine months.
But it’s not all good news. In the month-to-month appraisal, adjusting the figures in keeping with seasonal norms, the same report shows a 0.5 percent decrease in January compared to December.
The EMAE is the monthly indicator usually drawn on to predict the development of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Argentina, which is measured on a quarterly basis and covers all economic activity in the country. A few weeks ago, Indec reported that the GDP demonstrated a drop of 2.3 percent last year. For this year, however, the Government seems optimistic, estimating a rise of 3.5 percent.
“The Argentine economy started to recover effectively in the last quarter [of 2016] and will continue on that path in 2017,” sources from the Treasury Ministry reportedly told ámbito.com.
Meanwhile, speaking to C5N, Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne explained that the recovery of the economy “is based on investment and not on consumption.”
But, as always, opinions are mixed. Last October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that Argentina’s GDP would grow by 2.7 percent in 2017, but in January of this year the fund warned that it is had “lowered its expectations” for the country’s short-term recovery from the global recession.
Mariano Lamothe, an economist from Abeceb consultancy firm, explained to La Nación: “The EMAE is an indicator that is published without all of the complete data. Growth is still so weak that you have to look at both things [the percentages of increase and decrease]. If you look at industry, some sectors seem positive and some don’t. As consumption is still not showing a reaction, all of the indicators are going to be weak. What is clear though is that the process of reversal of the cycle is still unstable. Very few indicators seem positive.”
Lamothe sustained, however, that Abeceb estimates an economic growth of between 3 and 3.2 percent for this year, reasoning that “certain conditions are in place for a turn-around and those figures [from the EMAE] could be reached, although they could still be lowered.”
It would not be the first time that Indec revises its GDP figures. Last year, figures that came out of the EMAE report were lowered on two occasions, in terms of the economic forecast for this year. There were several reasons for this, including a slower pace of growth last year and increased government spending.