Viva Argentina: From the CIA Factbook

Mon Dec 24 09:31:59 MST 2001

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Argentina    Economy
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 sh! arply in subsequent years. In 1995, the Mexican
peso crisis produced capital flight, the loss of banking system deposits, and a
severe, but short-lived, recession; a series of reforms to bolster the domestic
banking system followed. Real GDP growth recovered strongly, reaching 8% in
1997. In 1998, international financial turmoil caused by Russia's problems and
increasing investor anxiety over Brazil produced the highest domestic interest
rates in more than three years, halving the growth rate of the
economy. Conditions worsened in 1999 with GDP falling by 3%. President Fernando
DE LA RUA, who took office in December 1999, sponsored tax increases and
spending cuts to reduce the deficit, which had ballooned to 2.5% of GDP in
1999. Growth in 2000 was a disappointing 0.8%, as both domestic and foreign
investors remained skeptical of the government's ability to pay debts and
maintain its fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. One bright spot at the
start of 2001 was the IMF's offe! r of $13.7 billion in support.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $476 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.8% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $12,900 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  6%
industry:  32%
services:  62% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line: 37% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%:  NA%
highest 10%:  NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): -0.9% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 15 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate: 15% (December 2000)
Budget: revenues:  $44 billion
expenditures:  $48 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles,
chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel
Industrial production growth rate: 1% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 77.087 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel:  60.3%
hydro:  30.7%
nuclear:  8.75%
other:  0.25% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 77.111 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 1.08 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 6.5 billion kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: sunflower seeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, corn,
tobacco, peanuts, tea, wheat; livestock
Exports: $26.5 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: edible oils, fuels and energy, cereals, feed, motor
Exports - partners: Brazil 24%, EU 21%, US 11% (1999 est.)
Imports: $25.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal
manufactures, plastics
Imports - partners: EU 28%, US 22%, Brazil 21% (1999 est.)
Debt - external: $154 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: IMF offer of $13.7 billion (January 2001)
Currency: Argentine peso (ARS)
Currency code: ARS
Exchange rates: Argentine pesos per US dollar - 1.000 (fixed rate pegged to the
US dollar)
Fiscal year: calendar year

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