Activity posted no growth from January to February, following an upwardly revised 0.5% expansion in January. The EMAE (official monthly GDP proxy) declined by 5.5% qoq/saar, from a loss of 6.0% qoq/saar in 4Q22. Activity increased by 0.2% yoy in January, outpacing the Bloomberg market estimate of a 1.1% contraction.
Primary activities declined on a year-over-basis in the quarter ended in February, affected by the drought. Primary activities decreased by 2.5% yoy in the period (from -1.6% in 4Q22), affected by a poor wheat harvest. All other sectors expanded in the quarter, but at a slower pace than in 4Q22. Services registered a 2.9% yoy gain in the period (from 4.6% in 4Q22), while Manufacturing expanded by 1.0% yoy (from 1.3% in 4Q22), followed by Construction at 1.1% yoy (from 1.6% previously).
At the margin, all sectors continued to decline in the quarter ended in February, according to our seasonal adjustment. Primary activities decreased by 10.4% qoq/saar, from a loss of 12.9% qoq/saar in 4Q22. The Service sector fell by 4.3% qoq/saar (from a loss of 7.9% qoq/saar in December), while the Manufacturing sector decreased by 4.8% qoq/saar (from a drop of 9.3% in 4Q22). Construction declined by 2.8% qoq/saar in January, from a drop of 13.3% in 4Q22.
We forecast a 4% contraction this year, reflecting a harsh drought and fragile macro fundamentals.
Juan Carlos Barboza