Argentina : Investment Climate Statement 2015
Argentina is one of Latin America's largest and wealthiest countries, possessing abundant human and natural resources, highly-diversified industries, and a 43 million person market. Argentina is estimated to have the world's second largest shale gas resources and fourth largest shale oil resources in the world. Investors face a difficult operating environment (e.g. currency and price controls, import restrictions, and double-digit inflation), but are more optimistic with regard to the medium- to long-term in Argentina. Argentina is still dealing with issues related to its 2001 default on nearly USD 100 billion in debt, the largest sovereign debt default in history. In late 2013 and early 2014, the government of Argentina (GOA) made some progress in normalizing its relations with the international financial community. The GOA settled several outstanding international arbitral awards, engaged with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to improve economic reporting data, and compensated the Spanish firm Repsol for the partial expropriation of YPF in 2012. Argentina also signed bilateral agreements to repay nearly USD 10 billion in arrears with the Paris Club group of creditors. Argentina's refusal to comply with a U.S. court ruling ordering the GOA to pay a group of U.S. creditors who sued the country for the full value of their defaulted Argentine bond holdings continues to restrict Argentina's ability to service some of its sovereign debt both at home and abroad. Argentina's limited access to international financial markets will continue to discourage investment until the issue is settled. Longstanding concerns regarding the lack of transparency in government policymaking also diminish the attractiveness of prospective investments in Argentina. Decisions that affect both foreign and domestic companies are frequently made without industry input and are rarely open to a consultation period. GOA actions to curb the remittance of profits abroad limit foreign companies' ability to repatriate earnings, causing some companies to reconsider locating new business ventures in Argentina. Currency controls delay companies' access to dollars to pay suppliers while recently amended laws allow the GOA to set profit margins and the prices of goods in the private sector in certain circumstances. Businesses and investors also report concerns about Argentina's currency exchange rate policies, which affect the competitiveness of Argentine goods internationally and delay investment decisions. The World Trade Organization (WTO) in January 2015 ruled that the GOA's all-encompassing import licensing system violated international trade norms. The GOA affirmed that it will comply with the WTO decision, but did not specify a timeframe for adjustment. In the meantime, the system remains in place and reportedly causes shortages and complicates the operations of businesses that are reliant on the importation of goods for production and distribution. Factories and distributors occasionally sit idle while the GOA delays granting approval to move inputs through customs, a process that can be restrictive and unpredictable. In 2014, in accordance with official figures, Argentina's economic growth slowed to 0.5 percent and unemployment remained steady at 6.9 percent. Private sources reported that the economy contracted about 2 percent and inflation reached 38 percent in 2014. Central Bank international reserve levels ended 2014 around USD 30 billion, a slight improvement from the previous year despite the GOA running current and financial account deficits in 2014. Some private economists contend that liquid reserves are actually lower. Argentina's trade surplus, the country's main source of foreign currency, fell nearly 17 percent in 2014 compared with the previous year.
- Paperback | 26 pages
- 216 x 279 x 1mm | 86g
- 17 Jun 2015
- Illustrations, black and white