After 2018, marked by the devaluation of the peso, Inflation at 48% and recession have spread to almost all activities, the big question is how the economy will start at the beginning of the new year. The official budget forecast calls for a 0.5% decline in GDP for the whole of 2019.
In this sense, experts predict a “complex” and “complex” first quarter, because the interannual fluctuations in activity in general will continue to fall, reflecting more conditions of what happened in 2018, they explain. In any case, recovery will be very slow from the second quarter with improvements in some sectors of activity and wages. The main question is what will happen with exchange rate stability, interest rates and country risk, which, in their opinion, at the current level implies serious financial stress.
One of the priorities on the economic agenda for 2019 is that the Central Bank can reduce the interest rate without leaving the dollar, ”said Federico Furias, economist at Eco Go consulting company. “It is also necessary that wages be restored against inflation. “What looks difficult today in a context where political uncertainty affects country risk,” he says.
The country risk, the variable that follows the performance of Argentine bonds abroad, "leaves the Central Bank at no extra charge to go faster to lower the interest rate. With this, it is also difficult to increase the loan, which, in turn, companies must finance a joint" he argues, in short, the analyst sees in the short term “the gradual recovery of real wages, the most stagnant loan, and in this context companies that may have some unemployment,” he says.
For the Ecolatina economist Lorenzo Sigout Gravina, the first question is how calm the exchange rate is. “Given that country risk exceeds 800 points, it is clear that Argentina does not have access to funding. And although the country complies with the requirements of the IMF, payments will be available in 2019, but by the middle of 2020 it will have to go out and place the debts, ”he explains. “This financial uncertainty is what overshadows the prospects,” he says.
On the other hand, “we could have a favorable first semester, with the recovery of some sectors, with incomes that would start growing more, given that in April paritarii, unions that have automatic wage adjustments and others that adjust for retirement mobility. "
Harvesting in agriculture is the starting point in the economy that comes, "especially in corn and soybeans that have been hard hit after the drought," says Gravina, Sigut. “As well as other tradable sectors that react with the highest exchange rate, such as agriculture, mining, oil and gas, among others. Maybe some industries, such as automotive, will be able to export more. "
According to Ramiro Castiñeira from Econometric, 2019 begins to “iron”, “touching the floor” of the crisis. With the exception of tourism, which is the only candidate for recovery, the first quarter of the year is "still difficult." Only after the second quarter, with the harvest in agriculture, you can begin to restore activity, the forecast.
Fausto Spoorno, an economist at the studio Ferreres & Asociados, also believes that the first quarter of 2019 is difficult. “With the exception of tourism, there are no variables that put too much pressure on the economy. But after the second quarter, positive data may come from the hands of agriculture, which will have faster growth, and some industries, ”he says.
As for inflation, which this year reaches 48%, economists agree that it will remain lower over the next year. In fact, according to analysts at the Central Bank, the price index (CPI) will grow by 27.5% in 2019.