Argentina's economic activity expanded 2.6% in March from a year earlier and 0.7% over February, the national statistics institute Indec said on Friday. Accumulated growth in the 12 months through March was 1.3%, down from 1.9% in full-year 2012.
Argentina which the IMF censured for underreporting inflation less than three months ago after three warnings over the past two years, last week authorized the deposit of 400 million dollars with the Washington-based lender to increase the nation’s access to emergency cash.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated on Wednesday that both financial and banking sectors in Latin America “should keep their guards up” before the recent and fast growth of the credit, though the lender doesn’t see any overheat of the region’s economy.
Official inflation in Argentina increased 1.1% in January compared to the previous month, Indec national statistics bureau reported on Friday. The hike in prices was led by transport as train and bus fares increased by 6.1%. The annualized rate jumped to 11.1%.
Argentina’s central bank reported that at the end of January it had reserves totalling 42.65 billion dollars which is the lowest level since President Cristina Fernandez took office in December 2007. At the time the central bank international reserves totalled 46.2 billion dollars. Only in April 2007 were reserves at a lower level, 38.6bn dollars.
Following Friday’s IMF ‘declaration of censure’ on Argentina because of the lack of reliability in its inflation and GDP stats, and the country’s first reaction virtually describing the Fund as mother of all financial evils, Minister of Economy Hernan Lorenzino announced a new ‘national’ Consumers Prices Index to be implemented in the course of this year and which will replace the current GBA-IPC.
Argentina became the first country censured by the International Monetary Fund for not sharing accurate data on inflation and economic growth under a procedure that can end in expulsion. The declaration of censure was adopted Friday by the IMF 24-member board of directors and even if it doesn’t have immediate effects, the decision takes the country a step closer to sanctions that include barred access to IMF loans.
Peru, Chile, Paraguay and Bolivia area among the South American countries best prepared in the event of another global crisis while Venezuela stands at the opposite end with ‘weakened’ defences, according to the latest report released by the IMF.
The IMF downgraded growth estimates for Latinamerica in 2013 from 3.9% to 3.6%, mainly because of an anticipated poor showing of the region’s largest economy Brazil, according to the Fund’s latest report on the world economy prospects.
Argentina is among the world’s countries which experienced the highest inflation in the last five years based on average data from the country’s private consultants and the IMF. The double digit inflation was estimated at 21.3%, an approximate average for the 2008/2012 period, and compiled by IERAL an Argentine business think-tank.