Argentina’s economy shrank in April for the first time in more than a year, government data showed on Tuesday, while the central bank held its policy rate stable at 40% in the first rate decision since a shakeup in its leadership.
Argentina, the world’s third biggest soy producer, booked its largest purchase of U.S. soybeans in 20 years on Tuesday after drought cut its harvest, forcing crushers there to turn to imports. The surprise move pushed Chicago soybean futures to a one-month high, in the latest development to upend global soy trading after top buyer China last week proposed tariffs on U.S. imports amid an intensifying Washington-Beijing trade dispute.
Argentina’s herd will shrink by up to 1 million head of cattle next year as ranchers facing scorched pastures after the worst drought in decades decide to slaughter females rather than grow their herds, analysts said.
Argentina's economy expanded 2.9% in 2017 from the prior year and 3.9% in the fourth quarter versus the same period in 2016, the Indec statistics agency said this week. The year-over-year figure was slightly above the 2.8% annual growth rate given last month by Argentina's monthly economic activity indicator, seen as a proxy for gross domestic product.
Argentina's Rosario Grains Exchange slashed 14% off its forecast for the country's soy crop on Thursday, saying a drought now in its fourth month would limit the harvest to 40 million tons versus its previous estimate of 46.5 million. Argentina has been suffering dry weather since last November.
A prolonged drought wreaking havoc on Argentina's soybean and corn crops could threaten the country's economic performance in 2018, an official said, as the country seeks to grow for a second straight year after several years of biting recession.
The lack of rain triggered by the La Nina weather phenomenon has prompted the Rosario Exchange to cut its forecast of Argentina’s 2017/2018 corn and soybean crop by 12% and 10%, respectively, making it one of the most bearish analysts in the market.