Economy

Infographic: Argentina’s troubled balance of payments

17th October 2019

By Ignacio Portes

Infographic: Argentina’s troubled balance of payments

While the devaluations seen since 2018 have reduced Argentina’s net cash flow deficits with the world, the latest balance of payments data from the INDEC statistics bureau shows that the country is still in the red in terms of its overall international transactions, with debt services looking like the most worrying item in terms of creating new external financing needs for the country.

</p> <img class="wp-image-4580 aligncenter" src="https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/balanza2-300x257.jpg" alt="Argentina's balance of payments during the last decade" width="638" height="547" srcset="https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/balanza2-300x257.jpg 300w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/balanza2-768x659.jpg 768w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/balanza2-1024x878.jpg 1024w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/balanza2-600x515.jpg 600w" sizes="(max-width: 638px) 100vw, 638px" /> <p>As the graph shows, Argentina has not posted a quarter of surplus in its current account since the early 2014 devaluation under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner&#8217;s administration, and the figures have overall been poor throughout the last decade.</p> <p>The worst period came during 2017 and 2018, as President Mauricio Macri opened up the economy while financing the country&#8217;s new imports with fresh debt. Financing needs almost doubled during those years, having ranged between 4 and 6 billion per quarter for most of the decade but reaching almost 10 billion in late 2017 and early 2018, when the peso could no longer hold its value and a long series of devaluations began.</p> <p>Since then, Argentina has regained its trade surplus in terms of goods. But those positive figures have not been enough to offset the losses seen in services and in &#8220;primary income,&#8221; a category that basically stands for rent, debt payments and dividends sent from Argentina to the rest of the globe, which grew in size under Macri&#8217;s watch.</p> <p>The latest figures correspond to the second quarter of 2019. Since then, Argentina has seen another devaluation in late August, and the Central Bank has continued to struggle to contain the dollar after it, selling reserves almost every day while also re-imposing restrictions on foreign currency purchases.</p> <p>

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Ignacio Portes

Ignacio Portes is The Essential's General Editor. Former Economy editor at the Buenos Aires Herald, he has also written for publications such as Naked Capitalism, NSFWCorp and Revista Debate.