The Argentine economy has significant long-term growth potential due to its natural resource wealth and highly educated labour force. The country has a high urban population, and strong primary school enrolment rates ensure basic skills are widespread. Argentina's vast deposits of natural gas make the country a potential investment destination for many of our clients, despite a notable degree of government intervention in the private sector.
Our coverage, using our unique Total Analysis model, ensures that our clients make sound, risk-assessed decisions in Argentina. We keep clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments, supported by our interactive data and forecasting. We provide in-depth analysis of 22 of Argentina’s most important industries, as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. Our aim is to make sure you are always ahead of the game in Argentina.
Argentina Country Risk
A substantial uptick in investment is likely following a devaluation and liberalisation of Argentina's external accounts. Nonetheless, this will likely not begin until the latter half of 2016, leading to a contraction in real GDP as private consumption declines with real purchasing power. This will ensure the Argentine economy contracts this year. Thereafter, Argentina will enter a period of robust growth as foreign investment flows into the country.
The government of president-elect Mauricio Macri will move to substantially reduce the country's budget deficit in the coming years by reducing government subsidies on electricity. This will serve to temper inflationary pressures as the government can move away from printing new pesos to finance its substantial deficit. Nonetheless, subsidy reduction will be gradual to limit the shock to consumers...
Argentina Operational Risk Coverage (9)
Argentina Operational Risk
Argentina Operational Risk
BMI View: The election of a reformist and economically orthodox president in the November 2015 ballot has signalled a more positive outlook for Argentina's investment profile over the medium term. Foreign investors have been deterred by a decade of populist policies and undue government intervention in the economy, but the new government has indicated it is committed to reversing measures that have placed restrictions on foreign currency, raised export taxes and weakened the legal system. FDI is also set to be more actively sought from a wider range of sources, and particularly for the struggling power and hydrocarbons sectors. Consequently, although structural obstacles to FDI such as an onerous fiscal and bureaucratic burden will only be gradually alleviated, Argentina'...
Argentina Crime & Security
Argentina Crime & Security
BMI View: Foreign workers and businesses in Argentina face a lower risk of crime and violence than in many Latin American countries, with the threat of terrorism and interstate conflict particularly low. These are the main factors behind Argentina's high regional ranking, in fifth place out of 28 Latin American countries, in the overall BMI Crime and Security Risk Index, with a score of 59.1 out of 100. Having said that, widespread rioting has occurred in recent years, causing considerable damage to business property. In addition, foreign workers will be at risk from petty street crime, while the public perceptions of criminal activity have reflected concerns about rising crime rates.
Argentina's main security risk is rising crime rates, which the public view as a major concern. Although the murder...
Argentina Labour Market
Argentina Labour Market
BMI View: Argentina boasts a large and well educated labour force which offers a range of recruitment options for investors. High urbanisation rates ensure that labour is readily available in concentrated geographic areas, and a well established healthcare system ensures that workers are healthy and demographic trends are strong. These factors are behind Argentina's high regional ranking of fourth overall in our Labour Market Risk Index, with a score of 59.0 out of 100. Nevertheless, investors in Argentina face notable costs and difficulties with regard to the labour force, largely due to exorbitant costs associated with employing workers, driven by high minimum wages, generous fringe benefits...
BMI View: Considerable logistics risks will serve to dampen investor sentiment towards Argentina over the medium term. A primary concern is that both the utilities and transport sectors suffer from a lack of funding. Consequently, poor-quality infrastructure, combined with droughts, leads to electricity and water shortages, while the lack of development in alternative freight modes means that supply chains are overly reliant on the road network, which is subject to disruption caused by fuel shortages. Furthermore, attempts to address economic imbalances have made the process of importing goods highly expensive and time consuming. However, Argentina continues to offer one of the largest markets in...
Argentina Trade & Investment
Argentina Trade & Investment
BMI View: Argentina has a diversified export base and strong trade links. However, these benefits to businesses are undermined by a deteriorating operating environment, characterised by increased government intervention in strategic sectors. We still see value for investors in Argentina, but would caution potential businesses of the volatility of government policy, particularly regarding the possibility of investment disputes. Argentina scores 38.1 out of 100 for Trade and Investment in our Operational Risks Index. This places it 24th out of 28 countries regionally, between Ecuador and Bolivia. Given Argentina's historical status as a large and investment-friendly economy, this low score reflects...
Argentina Industry Coverage (24)
BMI View: We believe that, with export quotas for corn and wheat having been removed by the new government, soybeans will lose acreage to both crops and yields will decrease as farmers swap soybeans for wheat in early plantings. What is more, soybean hoarding will decrease due to a lower export tax and the peso devaluation. As such, we hold a bearish view on soybean production in Argentina through to the end of our forecast period in 2018/19. Meanwhile, we expect moderate output growth for corn over our forecast period to 2018/19, as we expect corn prices to increase from current levels, which will incentivise production. Over the same period we are also predicting wheat production to trend higher, although this will be largely due to base effects.
BMI view: As a result of Argentina's decision to float the peso in December and its subsequent depreciation against major currencies, sales volumes will continue declining in 2016. The weak peso will raise prices of imported vehicles and components but reinvigorated demand in the commercial vehicle segment will help keep total vehicle sales volumes from dropping significantly.
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Argentina Commercial Banking
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Argentina Consumer Electronics
BMI View: We hold the view that 2016 will witness the Argentine consumer electronics market decline significantly in US dollar terms due to the sharp devaluation of the peso. We had changed our forecasts in the Q415 report to reflect on the positive growth in 2015 but we expect the market to again be disrupted by significant peso depreciation against the US dollar in 2016, which will have the most severe impact on the PC and AV segments, extending the run of handset spending outperformance. We believe the outlook for Argentina is stronger over the medium term, particularly from 2017-2019. Areas of growth we identify include smartphones, tablets, hybrid notebooks and smart TVs. However, we highlight there is considerable downside risk with Argentina vulnerable to external shocks should the global economic...
Defence & Security
Argentina Defence & Security
BMI View: Argentina's domestic defence sector remains small in a global context but from a regional perspective, the country represents the second largest producer of military equipment in Latin America. Local defence companies are capable of manufacturing a range of equipment in the land and air segments though their ability to develop high-tech, advanced platforms and systems, as well as naval vessels remains limited at present. As such, in relation to this kind of platform and systems, the country continues to rely on foreign suppliers to meet the...
Food & Drink
Argentina Food & Drink
BMI View: Despite expected currency devaluation in 2016, Argentina's real GDP and private consumption growth rates are forecast to accelerate to 2.5% and 1.5% respectively. These figures indicate only a marginal economic improvement after several difficult years and are well-reflected in our outlook for the food and drink industry, which is forecast to expand by 14.5% in 2016 local currency terms, but face a 9.9% contraction in USD terms.
Headline Industry Data
Total food consumption (local currency) growth year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2015: +9.9%; compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 2014-2019: +9.3%
Total food consumption (USD) growth (y-o-y) in 2015: -1.3%; CAGR 2014-2019: -0.7%
Per capita food...
Argentina Freight Transport
BMI View: Argentina's freight sector will witness a turnaround in 2016 following negative growth in 2015 on the back of currency constraints and a dim economic picture. The likelihood of currency devaluation in 2016 and the installation of a business friendly president will make exports more competitive and increase the country's attractiveness as an investment destination.
Economic growth will accelerate in 2016 as fixed capital formation returns to growth on the back of investor optimism towards a new government. This will come even as the government enacts a devaluation of the peso. In addition, improving employment conditions will boost consumer purchasing power and lead to an uptick in household spending despite the inflationary effects of devaluation after a new government takes office in order to boost the competitiveness of...
Argentina Freight Transport
BMI View: Argentina's freight transport sector will be negatively impacted by an economic recession in 2016, though elevated government spending will prevent growth turning negative across the freight modes. While currency devaluation will boost the competitiveness of the country's exports, increased costs of foreign goods will dim demand for imports. We expect dynamics across the freight modes will improve in the medium term as the economy recovers.
Argentina will enter recession in 2016 after experiencing modest real GDP expansion in 2015 as sharp adjustments to economic policies feed through to near-term instability. The new government of Mauricio Macri will move to unwind capital controls and the country's longstanding currency peg, leading to a large sell-off of the Argentine peso, and cutting Argentina's spending power given a lack of...
Argentina Information Technology
BMI View: The Argentine IT market is forecast to continue to grow in local currency terms in 2016, but contract by over 30% in US dollar terms as a result of the devaluation in December 2015. In addition to the direct impact on purchasing power and economic sentiment in the short term, the expectation of devaluation ahead of the election resulted in a concentration of upgrades in 2015, and exacerbates the decline in 2016. Our core scenario is for a return to stronger IT market growth from 2017, underpinned by peso stabilisation and more benign economic conditions, supporting a CAGR of 12.8% over 2016-2020 as a whole. There is however downside, with the outcome of Argentina's negotiations with its creditors uncertain and potentially a source of external shocks in an already uncertain global economic environment.
BMI View: Private investment in Argentina's infrastructure sector should increase and the business environment should improve now Mauricio Macri's centre-right government is in power. Meanwhile, Chinese and Russian backing of major projects, particularly in the energy and rail sectors, continues, but may face greater domestic and international competition as the market begins to open.
Latest Updates And Structural Trends
The election of centre-right Mauricio Macri to president is expected to see a raft of business, trade and investment friendly policies enacted in the short-...
BMI View: Argentina's insurance sector is feeling the effects of the economic headwinds currently buffeting the country, as both life and non-life insurers continue to find their earning power eroded by high inflation and depreciation of the Argentine peso. However, we see a number of positives for the industry over the next few years as economic output accelerates and a thawing consumer environment drives spending on motor insurance and other personal covers. In the life segment a robust market for group policies is emerging, which should support growth in premiums in absolute terms over the next few years. Nevertheless, we maintain our view that the operating environment for insurers will remain extremely challenging for the foreseeable future and will therefore see limited interest from new entrants and investors.
Argentina Medical Devices
BMI View: The Argentine market will record a low US dollar 2014-2019 CAGR, reflecting a slow depreciation of the official exchange rate through 2015 and a projected devaluation of the peso in 2016. Market drivers include a large population with a sizeable elderly group, the increasing incidence of chronic diseases, a well developed healthcare system, a large amount of international loan funding for healthcare, a backlog of healthcare investment needs, and medical device import reliance.
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BMI View: Despite Argentina's significant natural resources, we forecast the country's underdeveloped mining sector will see little growth in the years ahead. Indeed, we forecast average annual growth of just 0.5% to 2019. Ultimately, both subdued metals prices and a difficult operating environment will keep mining exploration and development activity subdued. Nevertheless, various copper and gold mines remain in development.
We expect Argentina's mining sector will remain relatively small and underdeveloped compared to other Latin American mining destinations, such as Chile and Peru, and that the industry will face headwinds in the years ahead. While the country's upcoming elections in Q415 are likely to lead to business environment improvements, economic and political headwinds remain in place, including elevated inflation, capital controls, and local content...
Oil & Gas
Argentina Oil & Gas
BMI View: Highly prospective acreage, a strengthening competitive landscape and supportive pricing dynamics will help insulate the Argentine shale sector from aggressive clawbacks in industry spending. A shift toward a more centrist government under the newly inaugurated Macri administration will open up significant investment opportunities in Argentina, particularly within the oil and gas sector. As such, the core Neuquen shale province will experience increased development over the course of the next decade, although more peripheral shale formations...
The steady decline in hydrocarbons production in Argentina led to a shortage of feedstock in recent years with a lack of both ethane and methane. As the Vaca Muerta shale reserves become more available, there is potential for rejuvenating the petrochemicals sector. This should resolve domestic shortages.
Petrochemicals growth in Argentina will not happen immediately and new infrastructure will be crucial. Only in the next two to three years will Argentina be at a point where it can even start thinking about new petrochemicals projects. The new administration of Mauricio Macri is set to shake up the business environment, making it more attractive to investors with the potential for lower feedstock costs as well as market liberalisation.
The Argentine government is hoping a new generation of fields in the southern region of Tierra del Fuego will help to offset falling gas output from the mature basins in the west and...
Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
Argentina Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
BMI View: Over the next five years, Argentina's pharmaceutical and healthcare sector growth trends are expected to substantially benefit from the improving business environment, including the liberalisation of the country's external accounts. Moreover, Argentina's geographical proximity, strong drug production ability and a skilled workforce will provide excellent investment opportunities for foreign drugmakers to expand their presence in Latin America, including through local market leaders. Despite Argentina's favourable long-term growth outlook, short-term economic turbulence will negatively impact on returns...
BMI View : A gradual improvement in the country's business environment and an increase in electricity tariffs under the presidency of Mauricio Macri will attract greater private investment in Argentina's power sector over the coming years. In the short term, the country will continue to suffer from underinvestment in the transmission and distribution sectors and limited access to capital ...
Argentina Real Estate
BMI View: In all three cities and in all three real estate investment segments, we are seeing similar trends. Little investment activity combined with sustained demand and falling vacancy rates. The established nature of the real estate market in Argentina presents opportunities in the long-term, but at the current time, there is a characteristic of stagnation in most locations. With the election of the new government and a revision of regulations put in place under the last government, demand from tenants is likely to increase in all three areas.
Despite recent uncertainties, economic indicators point to a recovery in Argentina from next year. Real GDP growth, estimated to be 0.7% in 2015, is set to rise to 2.5% in 2016 and average at 2.9% per annum thereafter. Business confidence has been falling and capital investment has turned negative in 2015 as investment decisions have been put on hold...
BMI View: The election of Marcelo Macri as the new president of Argentina will have a number of positive impacts for the country's economy. We anticipate a number of reforms to improve business environment and increase Argentina's appeal for foreign retailers. While the country's households will suffer from high inflation and weak income growth in the medium term, Argentina's retail sector will accelerate after 2019.
The Argentine economy has experienced significant turbulence over the past five years. Economic growth, which peaked at 9.5% in 2010, fell to 0.5% in 2014 and is expected to only achieve 0.7% in 2015. Consequently, the retail sector faces considerable challenges going forward owing to high inflation and a business environment that remains unwelcoming to foreign firms. Many are therefore awaiting positive changes following the election of Marcelo...
BMI View: Our outlook for the Argentinian port sector is continuing to look better than it has been for some time. In 2016, we forecast growth, albeit modestly, both in tonnage and throughput volumes at several of the country's maritime facilities. Weaker private consumption will continue to reduce imports in the next year, while a weaker exchange rate will slightly improve the competitiveness of exports, which will have a positive outcome for port volumes. Government intervention, industrial unrest and bureaucratic requirements will continue to disrupt the industry, while easing inflationary pressure supporting growth in household incomes, declining real imports and a boost in soy export volumes will strengthen net export numbers. However, we sill forecast a moderate expansion due to structural issues still affecting the...
BMI View: Conflict between the government and the judiciary over the proposed restructuring of Argentina's telecoms and media regulators will weigh on operators' investment strategies for the short-to-medium term. The market is fluctuating, with the move towards more advanced services gathering pace. On the mobile side, saturation has occurred, meaning that operators are looking to migrate users onto more advanced plans, such as LTE. The awarding of the 700MHz spectrum will help that strategy. On the fixed side, infrastructure investment is also needed, with the move towards convergence helping operators to grow their revenue per user.
Latest Updates & Industry Developments
BMI View: Argentina's tourism market offers significant growth potential. The country has a broad range of attractions and extensive supporting infrastructure, including a relatively modern hotel market and growing range of international transport connections. Growth has been hampered in the past by political instability and regional economic pressures; however, Argentina appears to be on a more stable political path, and we expect to see a significant uptick in foreign investor interest moving forward. This will enable the country to compete with more established regional destinations and sustain longer-term tourism growth.
BMI View: This quarter we have expanded our forecasts to include new projections for water extraction by source, and treated wastewater. These additions have provided extra data to be incorporated into our existing forecasts, resulting in their revisions also. Overall, we expect investment to continue to trickle into the sector over the short term, constraining expansion and modernisation projects, with the majority of funds centred on hydropower and water storage.
Public expenditures tick up in the coming quarters, and infrastructure is commonly one of the main beneficiaries of this pre-election expenditure. Along with transport projects, construction industry growth will be driven by a number of infrastructure projects in the power and oil and gas sectors. Given Argentina's precarious external account...