Argentina economy tanks in April as virus bites

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) – Argentina’s economy shrank by more than 26 per cent year on year in April while also contracting by 17.5 per cent compared to March, the official statistics institute said on Monday.

Over the first four months of the year, the economy fell 11 per cent compared to 2019, added Indec.

“The COVID-19 pandemic had a total impact on activity in April with all sectors falling,” said Indec in a statement.

Construction was the worst hit industry, plummeting 86.4 per cent, with hotels and restaurants not far behind (-85.6 per cent).

Manufacturing, down 34.4 per cent, and business, which lost 27 per cent, were also hard hit. The news comes with Argentina already reeling from two years of recession.

The country went into lockdown on March 20 to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, but those measures have been gradually eased in recent weeks.

However, following a spike in coronavirus cases in the capital, a new lockdown has been imposed on the greater Buenos Aires area – home to more than a third of the country’s 44 million people – from July 1-17.