(Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s economy received a wave of bad news this week, worsening an already dire economic outlook ahead of presidential elections this year. 

Four key indicators — construction, manufacturing, soy production and city inflation — flashed warning signs. And on Feb. 3, economists surveyed by the central bank forecast a brief recession this year, defined by two consecutive quarterly contractions of gross domestic product. 

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Construction activity declined on a monthly basis in December for the fifth straight month, according to government data published Wednesday. On an annual basis, activity also dropped 10.6%, the sharpest one-month decline since 2020. On the other hand, construction employment, a lagging indicator, continued to show gains. 

Soy Outlook 

Argentine farmers will collect just 34.5 million metric tons of soybeans during the second-quarter harvest, the lowest level since 2009, the Rosario Board of Trade said in a monthly report. That’s down 7% from January and the lowest estimate yet among traditional forecasters.

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Argentina’s industrial production index declined for the fourth time in six months in December, according to data published Wednesday. About 10% of factory employers intend to reduce headcount in the next three months, up from 6% last June, while those intending to hire more fell to 10% from 15% over the same period. Most plan to make no changes. 

Buenos Aires Inflation 

Prices increased 7.3% in the city of Buenos Aires last month, all but ensuring inflation at the national level accelerated too. The city figures, published Monday, showed prices rose in the capital by 99.4% from a year ago. National inflation data is published Feb. 14. 

ARGENTINA REACT: Activity Decline Locks in 4Q GDP Contraction

--With assistance from Jonathan Gilbert.

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