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flag Argentina Argentina: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline


Economic Indicators

After the severe financial crisis which led to the Argentinean bankruptcy in 2001-2002, the country's economy experienced a rapid and stable growth of an average of 8%. Argentina was affected by the global financial crisis of 2009, but its economy experienced a rapid revival again in 2010. However, growth slowed down again in 2012 (2.6%) due to weak global demand, poor grain harvest, an energy deficit and the effects of import and foreign exchange limits imposed by the government. In 2013, the growth rate increased reaching 3.5% of GDP. According to the estimations, inflation was at least 10%. The economy is largely driven by the exports of soy, the growing of this crop occupies more than 60% of the cultivated land.

President Kirchner, re-elected in 2011, pursues an expansionary economic policy, which has contributed to a rapid GDP growth, but it has also led to the increase of inequities, inflationary pressures and a deterioration of public finances. The government has responded to this situation by a resurgence of protectionism (price and trade controls) and by proposing a  reduction of 45% in imports by 2020. Its purpose is to protect local industries in order to guarantee a trade surplus which is the only way for Argentina to obtain foreign exchange since the country still holds a debt with the Paris Club (USD 8 billion) and while this debt is still outstanding, the country cannot have access to international credit. The country has also nationalized the oil company YPF, ex-subsidiary of Repsol. These measures have triggered the displeasure of the management executives who demand also a devaluation of the Peso (national currency). These policies have also deteriorated Argentina's relations with the countries of Mercosur. Moreover, the financial system remains fragile and the country faces an energy crisis due to lack of investment in this sector. Other structural problems remain as well, such as corruption and poor conditions of public transportation, education and health-care services. The Argentinean protectionism has not allowed the country to revitalize its local industry; there is always a shortage of funds to develop the oil and shale gas fields. The ecologists condemn the use of transgenics in the soy agriculture and the impact on the environment created by the uncontrolled mining exploitation of the multinationals. The mid-term legislative elections created a turnover for the political party in power and marked an end to the omnipotence of president Kirchner whose popularity is at its lowest. By the end of 2013, a strike of the police service provoked a looting in many provinces creating about ten victims.

The social situation of the country is sensitive: unemployment persists (7%), malnutrition remains and 25% of the population lives under the poverty line. More than 30% of the workforce is employed in the informal economy. According to the official figures, 2 million persons are living in poverty; however, according to private institutes, the real number is five times higher.

Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 556.56603.04610.29536.16539.94
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 13,71914,6981412,778e12,724
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.8-3.6-3.7e-4.8-5.2
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 35.937.641.048.954.2
Inflation Rate (%) 9.810.010.6--
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -4.11-1.24-4.95-4.41-5.96
Current Account (in % of GDP) -0.7-0.2-0.8-0.8-1.1

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Even though, Argentina lost its position of a superpower which it occupied at the beginning of the 20th century, the country, nevertheless, remains an important world economy, mainly due to its agricultural production. As a fact, the agricultural sector, which is based on livestock farming, cultivation of cereals (wheat, corn, and most of all soy) and citrus fruits, represents around 10% of the country’s GDP. On a global level, Argentina is the largest exporter of soy-derived products and the third largest producer. Soy and sugar cane are grown to produce bio-fuels, a specialty of the country which is the world's largest bio-diesel exporter and the fourth largest producer.

Rich in energy resources, Argentina is the world’s fourth largest oil producer and the first natural gas producer in Latin America.

The industry sector has vastly expanded over these last few years. It contributes to more than 30% of the GDP and employs almost one-fourth of the population. Food packaging (in particular meat packing, flour grinding, and canning) and flour-milling are the country's main industries. Industry also relies on automobile subsidiaries for European brands and also on chemical, petro-chemical and metallurgical activities.

The services sector has followed the same trend as the industry sector. Currently, it contributes to almost 60% of the GDP and employs three-fourths of the active workforce. Argentina has specialized in areas of high-tech services and it is very competitive in software development, call centers, nuclear energy and tourism. The telephone and ICT sectors are also being developed.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 0.6 23.4 75.3
Value Added (in % of GDP) 7.0 28.5 64.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 10.5 0.4 3.6

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Argentine Peso (ARS) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 3.713.904.114.545.46

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.


Learn more about Market Analyses about Argentina on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Argentina is very open to international exchanges, foreign trade represents around 40% of the GDP (average 2008-2010). Its main commercial partners are the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), China, the European Union and the United States. Argentina exports more than what it imports, therefore its trade balance is structurally positive. In 2012, the trade balance increased by 27% in relation to 2011, the strategic policy of restricting imports made up for the reduction in exports. This surplus was maintained in 2013, despite a slight drop (about USD 9 billion in surplus), thanks to the dynamic activity of the agricultural exports (soy and corn). Brazil is Argentina's first trade partner, in imports as well as in exports.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 38,78056,50273,93768,50874,002
Exports of Goods (million USD) 55,66868,13383,95080,92783,026
Imports of Services (million USD) 11,65814,45217,45218,23418,755
Exports of Services (million USD) 10,76213,46215,46814,87713,692
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -19.335.019.8-4.72.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -8.714.44.9-5.9-4.2
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 17.417.517.815.814.5
Trade Balance (million USD) 18,64514,28612,87015,15811,063
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 17,24113,10610,67812,0837,000
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 30.632.533.929.929.3

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Brazil 21.2%
China 7.2%
United States 5.6%
Chile 5.1%
Venezuela 2.8%
See More Countries 58.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Brazil 26.0%
China 15.4%
United States 10.9%
Germany 5.3%
Mexico 2.9%
See More Countries 39.5%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data


Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Oil-cake and other solid residues, whether or not...Oil-cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soya-bean oil 13.9%
Maize or cornMaize or corn 7.6%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.4%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 5.4%
Soya beans, whether or not brokenSoya beans, whether or not broken 5.3%
See More Products 62.4%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 9.6%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 6.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 6.8%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 5.5%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 3.5%
See More Products 67.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2012
- bn USD of services imported in 2012

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

State Portal
Ministry of the Economy
Ministry of Foreign Relations, International Trade and Religion
Statistical Office
Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC)
Central Bank
Banco Central de la República Argentina
Stock Exchange
Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires
Search Engines
Grippo (in Spanish)
Lycos Argentina
Yahoo! Argentina
Economic Portals
Portal of Argentina, Economic Section

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Political Outline

Executive Power
Executive power is held by the President of the Argentine nation. It is his/her responsibility to respond to national interests.
The President is the supreme head of the country, head of government, the politician responsible for the general administration of the country and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by universal suffrage for four years and can be re-elected for two consecutive terms of office. The vice-president is elected with him/her. The president appoints the Council of Ministers.
Argentina has 23 provinces and 1 autonomous federal district, which have retained some powers which do not belong to the federal government. They elect their own legislators and provincial governors.
Legislative Power
The legislative power is composed of a two-chamber parliament: a lower chamber, the Chamber of Deputies elected for 4 years by direct universal suffrage, and an upper chamber, the Senate elected for 6 years also by direct universal suffrage.
The parliament is called Congreso Nacional (National Congress).
Main Political Parties
The country has two large political parties: the PJ (Partido Justicialista, also called the Peronist Party) and the UCR (Civic Radical Union). Traditionally, the UCR has a more middle class, urban electorate, and the PJ an electorate of workers. But today both parties have a wider electoral base. The smaller parties, like the center-right PRO (Republican Initiative for Alliance) occupy different positions in the political spectrum, and some are only active in a few provinces.
Current Political Leaders
President : Cristina FERNANDEZ de KIRCHNER (since 2007)
Vice President: Amado BOUDOU (since 10 December 2011)
Next Election Dates
Presidential elections: October 2015
Chamber of Deputies and Senate: 2015

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
1 place down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House


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Last Updates: December 2014