A realistic portrait of Argentina

…beyond the stellar growth numbers, the picture is mixed. To start with, the boom owes much to global factors. Amid a surge in global prices, Argentina is a leading food commodities producer, with agriculture making up 35 per cent of foreign sales. Furthermore, not only is China clamouring for Argentina’s natural resources, but the middle class in neighbouring Brazil – its main trading partner – are also avidly buying cars, its biggest manufacturing export.

“The terms of trade are now at a historic high. This is the best possible world for Argentina,” says Lucio Castro of Cippec, a Buenos Aires-based think-tank. “But take out the natural-resource intensive sectors and productivity in the rest of the economy is bad and informality extremely high.”

Unemployment, at 7.4 per cent in the first quarter, is low, but investment is lacklustre – 19.4 cent of gross domestic product. Meanwhile, productivity is “not bad, it’s dismal”, says Mr Castro.

Moreover, following years of underfunding, the country’s once admired education system is a shadow of its former self.

Repeat after me three times: real shocks really, really matter.  That adds up to six “reallys.”  The link is here.


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