Economic activity, a proxy for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), grew by 1.4 percent in March compared a year ago, along with 0.1 percent reduction in comparison with February 2018.
The positive growth numbers means that the economy has grown for 13 consecutive months; in the first quarter of 2018 cumulative growth has been 3.5 percent. However, the 1.4 percent growth rate for March is significantly lower than the 4.2 and 5 percent reported in January and February 2018.
The Estimador Mensual de Actividad (EMAE) figures were published by the INDEC statistics bureau.
One of the reasons why the growth rate wasn’t higher was the 5.5 percent reduction in output in the agricultural sector compared to March 2017. Agriculture was hit hard in the first part of the year by a drought that has threatened to shave half a percentage point from 2018 GDP growth. Fisheries were also down by 0.8 percent compared to last year.
Leading the way in terms of economic activity was construction, which saw increases of 5.9 percent on an inter-annual basis. In January and February of this year, growth was 14.2 and 12.7 percent. Industrial manufacturing saw an increase of activity of 0.8 percent, again slower than the 3.2 and 5.9 percent increases reported for January and February 2018.
Retail and wholesale consumption saw increases of 2.8 percent compared to March 2018 and hotels and restaurants – a reflection of tourism levels – saw increases of 4.5 percent.
While the economy had been projected to grow at 3 percent this year, Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne has recognized that following May’s foreign exchange volatility, increased fiscal austerity and high interest rates, growth will be lower than estimated.