Argentina's economic activity index, EMAE, increased 0.6% in December 2014, compared to the same month of 2013, according to the country's Indec stats office latest release. This marks the third consecutive monthly growth, after previous negative results.
During the last quarter of 2014, economic activity went up by 0.1% in October, by 0.2% in November and by 0.6% in December.
Service and goods production increased 0.1% in December 2014, compared to the previous month. The hike is explained by an increasing internal demand boosted by payment plans and tourism, said the Indec release.
The monthly EMAE economic activity index, is a close proxy for GDP.
However industrial production continued on a downward path for the 18th straight month in January, according to figures released by Indec. Manufacturing was 2.1% down in January in the yearly comparison, although it showed a 1.1% improvement when compared to December.
As has become the norm, the decline was led by the automobile sector, which saw a decline of 28.8%. The sector with the second-largest decline was clothing, with a 10.8% drop, followed by plastics (-9.5%) and printing (-5.6%), while companies that provide construction inputs saw a few signs of recovery (5.6%).
The steady trends seen in manufacturing are expected to continue by most industry leaders, as 84.1% of those interviewed by INDEC said they were not awaiting demand improvements for February.
In its report, INDEC highlighted that car exports during January were down 61.1% according to the Association of Car Manufacturers (ADEFA). ADEFA has also pointed out that new car sales are 27% down in the same period.
Throughout Latin America, countries have been renegotiating their trade agreements in the car sector, as demand has dropped across the region.
This week Argentine Industry Minister Debora Giorgi came out against México’s proposal, saying it calls for a return “to free trade” to end with quotas, and in her view that would hurt local production and integration in the value-added chain.
“Cristina Fernández replaced free trade with Mexico with administrated trade through a three-year arrangement that expires on March 19. It was successful because it generated fair trade results for more than 150 million dollars that were equally good for both countries. We want to continue that for five more years,” Giorgi said.