Argentina bets on domestic spending to revive economy


File photo: CGTN

BUENOS AIRES, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Domestic consumption will be one of the main pillars of economic recovery in the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said on Monday.

"We need Argentines to consume again," said the president when announcing a government plan to help spur consumption and home improvement called "Cared for Prices for Construction."

The state is determined to drive domestic spending, Fernandez added during a ceremony held at Hidromet, a company that manufactures bathroom fixtures in the city of San Fernando, 25 kilometers north of the capital Buenos Aires.

According to the president's office, the plan comprises "89 top of the line products, in 17 different categories, at a price 5 percent lower than market values. They will be distributed at more than 500 points of sale around the whole country."

Products range from cement and bricks to insulation and waterproofing materials, and lighting and bathroom fixtures, among others.

Accompanying the president was Minister of Productive Development Matias Kulfas, who said, "the construction sector is going to be fundamental and vital to reactivating the economy, which we already see some concrete signs of."

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Argentine economy may contract by as much as 10.5 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Argentina imposed lockdown measures from March 20 to Sept. 20, after detecting its first case of coronavirus on March 3. So far, it has reported 555,537 cases of infection and 11,412 deaths from the disease.