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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Argentina has a long history of political and economic instability - with significant growth fluctuations every year. In 2022, the country had an estimated growth in GDP of 4%, mainly driven by private consumption and the recovery of sectors that were previously affected by the pandemic. However, South America’s second largest economy is expected to grow at a slower pace in coming years, with the IMF predicting a GDP growth of 2% for 2023 and 2024, as monetary tightening and price pressures are expected to weaken labour markets and private consumption.

Since 1950, Argentina has spent 33% of the time in recession, second in the world behind the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the World Bank. The country's structurally high inflation increased in 2022 and hit an estimated 72.4%, according to the IMF, as a large share of the fiscal deficit was monetised and the Peso depreciated as a result of the government's lack of a credible economic plan. In order to curb inflationary pressures, the government has implemented new currency exchange rates to the more than 10 that already exist in Argentina. According to the IMF, general government balance in Argentina represented an estimated -3.8% of GDP, while public debt reached 76% in 2022. Furthermore, the country has been making progress in its US$40-billion debt renegotiation with the IMF, and reached an agreement in 2022. As such, the country is expected to continue on its path to further reduce macroeconomic imbalance and restore fiscal order in the coming years. Although the pandemic has significantly impacted the Argentine economy, the country has been recovering, with the government implementing measures to counteract the economic crisis resulting from it.

In 2022, the unemployment rate in Argentina fell to an estimated 6.9%, consistent with the economic recovery the country experienced, and it is expected to remain unchanged in 2023 and 2024. However, even though formal employment has been rising, high labour informality remains a concern in the country. The Argentine government has faced difficulties in fighting high levels of poverty, which affects more than 40% of the population, and the social situation of the country is characterised by constant underlying tensions between the Government and trade unions over the reforms announced. The country is also split between central and decentralised authorities over the distribution of federal revenues. Infrastructure net works require more investment as access to electricity and water in rural areas is not always ensured.

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 389.06486.70632.24641.10638.58
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -9.910.
GDP per Capita (USD) 8,57210,61713,65513,70913,520
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -5.2-3.5-4.2-3.7-3.5
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 102.880.984.576.373.6
Inflation Rate (%) 42.048.472.498.660.1
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 3.096.74-4.126.325.27
Current Account (in % of GDP) 0.81.4-

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by La Coface.



Main Sectors of Industry

Despite recent economic struggles, Argentina continues to play an important role within the global economy, especially with regards to its agricultural production. The sector is mainly based on livestock farming, cereal cultivation (wheat, corn and transgenic soy), citrus fruits, tobacco, tea and grapes (mostly for the production of wine). Argentina is the world’s largest exporter of soy-derived products and the world’s third largest producer of such products. Soy and sugar cane are extensively cultivated for bio-fuel production. As a result, the country is the world’s largest exporter and sixth largest producer of bio-diesel. The agricultural sector represents 7.1% of the country’s GDP, but it only employs 0.1% of the population, according to the World Bank. Additionally, given that the country is rich in energy resources, Argentina also has a great potential in terms of raw materials: it is the fourth largest natural gas producer in Latin America, and they have the world's third largest shale gas reserve and the fourth largest lithium reserve. Agricultural exports are a key source of revenue for Argentina, especially as the country leaves a recession that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. However, in 2022, Argentina experienced the worst drought in decades, which significantly impacted the country's wheat, corn, and soy crops.

The industrial sector has vastly expanded in recent years. According to the latest data from the World Bank, the sector represents 23.6% of GDP and employs 21.8% of the population. Food processing and packaging - in particular meat packing, flour grinding and canning - and flour-milling are the country's main industries. The industrial sector also demonstrates strength in motor vehicles and auto parts, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, printing, metallurgy and steel, industrial and farm machinery; electronics and home appliances. Industrial activity in Argentina continued to experience growth in 2022, registering a steady recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.

The service sector is the largest contributor to GDP, accounting for 52.5%, and it employs 78.1% of the active workforce. Argentina has specialised in areas of high-tech services and is highly competitive in software development, call centres, nuclear energy and tourism. The telephone and ITC sectors are also developing dynamically, as well as tourism, which is increasingly becoming an important sector. In 2022, tourism experienced a significant growth as the depreciation of the Peso made the country an attractive destination for foreign visitors. As a result, the number of tourists in Argentina bounced back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 0.1 21.8 78.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 7.1 23.6 52.5
Value Added (Annual % Change) 0.7 15.3 9.0

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Argentine Peso (ARS) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 14.7616.5628.0948.1070.54

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

Argentina has been a relatively closed market to international trade, which accounted for 33% of its GDP in 2021 (World Bank). Nevertheless, the government has been trying to reduce protectionism and president Fernández is seeking a mature relationship with China and the US. The country's main exports include maize (10.8%), oil-cake and other solid residues (9.4%), soy-bean oil and soya beans (6.9%), motor vehicles (4.1%), and wheat and meslin (3.1%); while it imports auto parts and accessories (4.6%), petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons (4.5%), soya beans (4.2%), petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons (3.4%), and telephone sets (3.2%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by 0.7% in 2022 and is expected to record a growth of 3.9% in 2023, while the volume of imports of goods and services increased by 14.4% in 2022 and is expected to decrease to - 4.5% in 2023.

As part of the Mercosur, Brazil is Argentina’s main trade partner for both exports and imports, followed by China, the United States, India, Chile, Paraguay, and Germany. Even though the relationship between Brazil and Argentina deteriorated during Bolsonaro’s government, the countries have been growing closer since the inauguration of the newly-elected Brazilian president, Lula, in January 2023. As such, the countries have been working to foster stronger trade ties and introducing a common currency. Additionally, even though Mercosur has been facing a fragile state, with a weak institutional structure and ideological differences between its members, the bloc has been looking into signing a bilateral agreement with China in a plan to modernise and open it to other regions. Furthermore, the bloc's member countries have pushed to intensify negotiations between the EU and Mercosur and firm up a trade agreement between the two.

According to the last available data from WTO, Argentina exported USD 77.9 billion worth of goods in 2021, and imported USD 63.1 billion. As for services, the country imported USD 12.8 billion and exported USD 9.3 billion. Overall, imports increased 22% compared to the previous year, while exports increased 9.2%, resulting on an overall trade balance of USD 18.6 billion.

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 66,93065,48249,12442,35463,185
Exports of Goods (million USD) 58,62261,78165,11654,88477,935
Imports of Services (million USD) 24,66424,01419,15111,60412,835
Exports of Services (million USD) 14,52015,05713,9429,2379,359

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 25.330.832.630.233.0
Trade Balance (million USD) -5,447-74318,23414,63118,696
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -15,143-9,67813,39112,09215,053
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 15.6-4.5-18.7-18.522.0
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 14.016.314.713.614.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 11.314.417.916.618.0

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -5.4-
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 12.3-

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Argentina is a member of the following international economic organisations: Latin American and the Caribbean Economic System, WTO, Mercosur, IMF, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, ICC, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Argentina click here. International organisation membership of Argentina is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Argentina can be consulted here.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Brazil 14.3%
China 9.0%
United States 7.6%
Chile 5.7%
India 5.1%
See More Countries 58.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 21.5%
Brazil 19.6%
United States 12.7%
Germany 3.3%
Paraguay 2.4%
See More Countries 40.5%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Alberto Fernández (since 10 December 2019); the president is both chief of state and head of government.
Next Election Dates
President: October 2023
Legislative (Senate and Chamber of Deputies): October 2023
Current Political Context
President Alberto Fernández, who took office in December 2019, was elected on pledges to resurrect the Argentinian economy after a long period of economic downturns. However, the negative economic and social impacts of the pandemic and the setbacks in the reopening process resulted in a significant fall in popularity. In 2021, the moderate stance of the government gave way to the hardliner and interventionist orientation linked to Vice-President Cristina Kirchner. As a result, at the legislative elections, which took place in November 2021, Argentina's ruling Peronist party saw its centre-left coalition lose its majority in Congress for the first time in almost 40 years.In March 2022, the Congress approved a USD 45 billion debt agreement with IMF. However, as the IMF is not a popular institution among Argentines, the deal can further decrease the president's popularity. Nevertheless, the deal will provide investors with legal and macroeconomic certainty, which is a big step in returning to meaningful growth and a significant part of the president's strategy to attract new investment while dealing with Argentina’s debt problem and addressing other issues such as inflation, poverty, and unemployment. Furthermore, a rift between Fernandez and Kirchner has added to the country's instability, as the Vice President forced out the country's first finance minister, Martin Guzman, in July 2022, for trying to implement an agreement with the IMF that required a considerable reduction of the deficit and stricter control of the money supply by the central bank. After his departure, Sergio Massa became minister of the economy, production and agriculture, with his main focus being controlling the country's rising inflation by reducing public spending and boosting foreign reserves. As the country approaches general elections in 2023, politics and economics have been getting even more intertwined, as Argentina's economic situation is likely to impact the ballots.
Main Political Parties
- Everyone's Front (Frente de Todos): coalition which aims to create a union of all parties of centre-left and left-wing, peronism, kirchnerism, social democracy, democratic socialism, and progressivism
- Together For Change (JxC): formerly known as Cambiemos. Centre-left to centre-right, big-tent coalition, liberalism, conservatism, social democracy, federal peronism, and Christian democracy
- Federal Consensus (Consenso Federal): centre political coalition, federal peronism, and progressivism
- Workers' Left Front (FIT): far-left alliance, ideologically identifies with Trotskyism
- Advance Freedom (Avanza Libertad): centre-right coalition, economic liberalism, social conservatism
- We (NOS): right-wing coalition, Catholic nationalism, conservatism, right-wing populism
Executive Power
Executive power is held by the President of the Argentine nation and is his/her responsibility to respond to national interests. The President is the Head of the Government and the Chief of State, the individual responsible for the general administration of the country and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The President is elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term and can be re-elected for a subsequent consecutive term of office. The Vice President is elected alongside the President. The President appoints individuals to the Council of Ministers.

Argentina has 23 provinces and one autonomous federal district - each retains some powers that do not belong to the federal government and elects their own legislators and provincial governors.

Legislative Power
The legislative power is held by the bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional). The Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) is comprised of 257 members, which are elected to four-year terms by direct universal suffrage, with half of the membership renewed every two years. The Senate (upper house) is comprised of 72 members, which are elected to six-year terms by direct universal suffrage - with one third of the members elected every two years.


COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the Argentine government, please consult the section dedicated to Argentina in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.