Argentina’s economy contracted 5.8% in the first quarter of 2019, the country’s statistics agency said on Wednesday, a reflection of the biting recession that has hammered domestic consumption and production.
The steep fall marks a slight improvement versus the previous quarter, which had been the weakest quarterly performance in a decade, but keeps the pressure on President Mauricio Macri as he battles to revive growth.
The stalled economy, which started to contract in the second quarter of last year, has badly hurt Argentine consumers and business owners, and dragged down Macri in the polls ahead of presidential elections towards the end of the year.
The region's second largest economy shrank 2.5% last year and 6.2% in the final quarter of 2018, capping a tumultuous period where the country was rattled by a plunging peso currency and rampant inflation.
A more detailed analysis of the bleak performance shows that agriculture and livestock actually increased 7.7% while fisheries was up 5.5%. However private consumption was down 10,5% public consumption, 0.2% and exports were up 1.7%, but imports collapsed 24.6%.
Consultants Ecolatina said that after the drop in the first quarter, there are indications that the recession finally hit the bottom and the economy could begin to bounce back, this mainly because of the good crops and the foreign exchange competitiveness. This is evident in the export sector, that although mildly it has been gradually climbing for the last two quarters.