BUENOS AIRES: Argen-tina’s economy contracted a record 19.1 per cent in the second quarter versus the same period a year earlier as the coronavirus pandemic crippled production and demand, though was slightly better than analyst forecasts.
The steep fall, deeper than a 16.3 per cent drop during Argentina’s major 2002 crisis, came as the South American country imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March to stem the virus. The country has over 640,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and nearly 13,500 deaths, report agencies.Argentina, a major grains producer, has been in recession since 2018 and is just emerging from default on its sovereign debt, with investors again growing concerned about prospects for its economic recovery and dwindling foreign currency reserves.
The government imposed the lockdown on March 20, and while it has been eased it remains in place until at least Oct. 11, with Argentina still at its peak in terms of daily case numbers. The country recorded over 400 deaths in 24 hours on Monday.