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With the second wave on the rise and low wages, consumption will continue to fall in the coming months


In April, circulation fell 42% in the AMBA. Sales in retail stores fell 8.3%.

Annabella quiroga

05/03/2021 4:38 PM

  • Clarí

  • Economy

Updated 05/03/2021 4:39 PM

The restrictions on activity to quell the second wave of Covid are already being felt on the economy and consumption.

For analysts, this will translate into lower growth for this year and

a new bucket on consumption

that has no plans to react at least in the coming months.

The summer of 2021 ended the activity on the rise.

For Econviews,

activity grew 0.8% in March compared to February.

According to a BBVA report, in March

consumption grew 7%


"After the very high year-on-year growth in March due to the fall of the previous year, the slowdown in consumption in all sectors accounts for the

poor performance

of the recovery," they indicate.

But in April there are already signs of

a slowdown


CAME data indicate that SME sales fell 8.3% last month compared to March, in a context in which six out of ten small and medium-sized businesses face supply problems.

And they sell 26% less than two years ago.

Another negative figure was the evolution of consumer confidence: with the advance of Covid, uncertainty grew and the Di Tella index

fell 7.5% in April.

Although the restrictions are much lighter than those that were applied a year ago, in April

circulation fell 42% in the AMBA.

"Although services improve their performance,

they remain lagged

compared to goods. The new wave of infections is of particular concern in this sector, which is the largest employer," says BBVA.

Consultants are already beginning to measure the impact of the second wave.

"Living with restrictions will imply

less dynamism in the activity

and worse socioeconomic indicators that, in any case, will not approach the levels of last year," says the consulting firm LCG.

"If these restrictions last a quarter and do not affect industry and construction we can think of

a 'growth' of 4% -5%.

After a fall of 9.9%, recovering half implies that anemia will still be felt , "LCG notes.

Salary backlog grows

Another factor hits this: the backwardness of wages, which for the most part still do not have increases that allow them to

fight inflation hand in hand.

Several times different officials, Minister Martín Guzmán among them, repeated that this year

wages have to beat inflation


For now, the parities that were closed are around 30%, against an inflation that according to the private companies will not drop below 45%.

Although the salary agreements have contemplated an update if prices accelerate, the idea that consumption drives the reactivation is fading.

The economist Andrés Borenstein points out that real wages are

7.5% below

the level of last year, while pensions lost 5%.

When looking at the spending on salaries of the national administration, the drop reaches almost 15%.

An Econviews report estimates that

activity will fall 2.3% in the second quarter


"May should be

the worst month of the year

, although if the restrictions persist the worst month could be June," they say. 

Unlike what happened in the previous quarantine, this time a boom in durable consumption is not expected.

"The impression is that households that maintain purchasing power have

already bought all the appliances they needed

to face the closure, they have already added accessories to stay in shape and the exchange gap no longer gives room for the level of bargains that there was last year in imported ".

Will the Government be able to

remove a rabbit from the galley

that allows to reactivate consumption immediately?

Until a month ago they put many tabs on the earnings update, but the changes in the law were not regulated and are not yet in effect.

And when they are, they will have a limited effect.

For Econviews, the income tax cut will have "a big one-time effect and then the monthly impact will be very marginal. It would increase the wage bill by about

$ 4 billion per month


"The outlook for consumption in the coming months

looks bleak

. We will see if there are fiscal incentives closer to the elections," slides Econviews.


Look also

Argentines spend less with cash and more with a debit card

Supermarkets' own brands already account for 14% of sales

Source: clarin

All business articles on 2021-05-03

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