Argentine Business and Economy Part I

Trade, tourism, finance

Argentine exports are mainly made up of agricultural products (cereals, fruits, vegetables, fodder, vegetable oils, butter, meat and meat products, leather and hides), but in the second half of the 20th century there was an increasing participation of industry in this sector. activity, particularly with regard to oil products. In contrast, the country has an import agenda that prioritizes oil itself, with which it still complements its production, industrial raw materials, chemicals, machinery and transportation vehicles. The most important partners in Argentine foreign trade are the European Community (EC), the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the United States and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEI).

According to, Argentina has state and private banks, a large number of establishments whose activity is under the control of the Central Bank, which also preserves foreign exchange and gold ballast, in addition to issuing the currency. From the 1960s onwards, the country faced rising inflation, which went beyond the thousand percent mark. After a period of continuous currency devaluation, the Argentine government created the new peso in 1970, equivalent to one hundred old pesos. In 1983 there was another monetary adjustment and a new peso was launched, worth ten thousand of the previous one. In 1985, another adjustment became urgent and the currency was named austral, with the value of a thousand new pesos. From this phase until the beginning of the 1990s, there was a period of relative stability,

In April 1991, the law of free currency convertibility dollarized the Argentine economy, which has since experienced a significant decrease in the inflationary process. Its intensity over many years, however, has caused another heavy burden on the national economy to grow and worsen: the foreign debt, one of the largest on the continent.

Mines and energy

Argentina is rich in mineral resources, which remain largely unexplored due to the lack of an adequate relationship between natural resources and the means dedicated to their use. The northwest is the region where the most important mining centers are located. There, lead, tin, zinc, gold, silver, copper, iron, bismuth, tungsten, tungsten, manganese, asbestos are extracted, as well as plaster and salt. Among non-metallic minerals, valuable deposits of cobalt, sulfur, tantalum and uranium are known. There are also important concentrations of iron in Río Negro and other parts of Patagonia.

With few deposits of coal in the extreme south of its territory, Argentina, since the beginning of the century, has had good results in the extraction of oil and natural gas. Its sheets of highest productivity and potential are located in the provinces of Chubut (especially in Comodoro Rivadavia), Santa Cruz, Río Negro, Neuquén and Salta. The sector’s state-owned company, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), took control of the production of oil and its import in 1922. In the 1980s, oil and its derivatives constituted 10 percent of Argentine imports, although during this period the growth of national production was rapidly moving towards self-sufficiency. An even more auspicious increase had been the extraction of natural gas, which is increasingly in demand in the expansion of the industrial park and urban communities.

The rivers that descend from the western border and a large extension of those that cross the northeastern Argentine – basically the basins of Paraná and Uruguay – have high hydroelectric potential. The existing plants were built in the Sierra de Córdoba, on the Uruguay River and on the Río Negro. There were immense dams under construction, in particular that of the Yaceretá hydroelectric plant, in cooperation with Paraguay, but most of the country’s electricity, in the early 1990s, came from thermoelectric plants. At the same time, Argentina had the largest atomic energy facilities in Latin America, at the Atucha plant.

Argentine Mines and energy


Despite the structural problems of its economy, Argentina stood out as one of the most industrialized countries in South America, with great potential for development. In the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the first factories appeared, focused on the processing of agricultural products for export. In addition, construction began on the main railways and port facilities in Buenos Aires and other cities on the Atlantic coast.

During the first world war, while the export of food received a new impetus, the import of manufactured goods was practically suspended. As in the case of Brazil, the fact represented a powerful stimulus for industrial expansion, since it was necessary to replace consumer goods hitherto imported by similar ones produced domestically. The process encountered serious obstacles in the 1929 crisis, which affected the entire world market and gave rise to a difficult period of stagnation in the Argentine economy throughout the 1930s until the Second World War, which led to a new surge in food exports. and industrialization.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the Argentine processing industry, especially food and textiles, covered a wide range of products, among which sugar, vegetable and animal preserves, olive oil, oils stood out for their quantity and quality. vegetables, beer, wine, alcohol, cotton fibers, wool and synthetics.

Despite the modest performance of the Argentine steel and metallurgical industries, the production capacity of automakers, tractors and even, to a lesser extent, military vehicles and airplanes has not decreased in recent years. The largest industrial centers, in addition to Buenos Aires, are Córdoba, Tucumán, Rosario, Mendoza, Salta and Jujuy. A sector that took a strong boost thanks to the national oil production was that of the chemical industry, represented by numerous factories of medicines, fertilizers, glues, sulfuric acid, methanol, ethylene, propylene, caustic soda and tires. Nor can two other items of considerable expression be forgotten, cement and paper.