Argentina's economy shrank by 10 percent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to initial estimates published by the INDEC national statistics bureau.
Data from the bureau’s Monthly Estimator of Economic Activity (EMAE), published Wednesday, revealed the economy fell by 2.2 percent in December, compared to the same month in 2019, although it was up by 0.9 percent on November.
GDP rose in eight of the 12 months but was badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic in April and May in particular, when the strict lockdown imposed by the government to tackle the spread of the Covid-19 in Argentina almost paralysed economic activity. With factories and stores shuttered, the year-on-year drops for those two months were 25.4 percent and 20 percent respectively.
"After having gone through the most intense moment of the pandemic, with falls of around 25 percent in April and May, economic activity managed to recover in the second part of the year and closed 2020 with an annual average fall of 10.0 percent, lower than initially projected in the 2021 Budget (12.1 percent)," the Economy Ministry said in a statement released Wednesday.
While the latest projection is an improvement on the government estimate of a 12.1 percent slump it sent to Congress back in September, a 10 percent annual slump is comparable in recent history only to the 10.9 percent contraction registered in 2002, when Argentina was facing its worst economic, social and political crisis.
Through 2020, the worst hit industries were hotels and restaurants (down a staggering 48.6 percent year-on-year) and community, social and personal services (down 37.5 percent).
Only two sectors, financial mediation (up 2.1 percent) and electricity, gas and water (up 0.8 percent), grew in 2020.