Argentina is one of the most prosperous countries in
South America, but the economy has declined since 2016,
partly due to foreign debt and high inflation, which in 2017
was 24.8 percent (INDEC). The general standard of living has
declined, and about 29 percent of the population lives in
poverty (INDEC, 2018). Argentina is not really a developing
country, although it has some social problems similar to the
COUNTRYAAH, tourism has become increasingly important to the economy.
In 2017, the country was visited by 2.7 million tourists,
most from other Latin American countries such as Brazil and
Chile, but also from the United States, Canada and Europe.
Among the most important destinations are Buenos Aires, the
Andes, Mar del Plata, the Iguazú Falls and the Fire Land.
Argentina held the presidency of the G20 in 2018.
Over half of the total area is used for agricultural
production. Mostly used as pasture. Breeding (cattle, pigs
and horses) is mainly run on pampas and in Patagonia, where
they concentrate on sheep breeding. Argentina is one of the
world's largest producers of beef.
Grain is grown on two-thirds of the cultivated area. The
most important grains are wheat, which is grown in a wide
belt from Bahía Blanca in the south to Santa Fe in the
north, and maize which has increased in importance. Both
wheat and maize are mainly exported. Rye, barley, oats and
rice are also grown. Other important agricultural products
are sugar cane, cotton, flax and sunflower seeds, alfalfa,
grapes, fruitand the national drink mate. Argentinian
agriculture is highly mechanized, and cattle farming in
particular is dominated by large estates, estancias.
Forests cover a fifth of the area, but forestry is
relatively poorly developed. Half of the country's timber
needs must be imported. In the far north, the quebracho
tree, which contains tannic acid, is utilized and in
addition gives a very hard building timber.
The country's mineral resources are only partially
exploited. With the exception of oil and natural gas, the
known mineral deposits are relatively small and scattered.
There are deposits of iron ore, coke and coal, lead, zinc,
silver, gold, copper, tin, tungsten, manganese and uranium.
Argentina is almost self-sufficient with petroleum and
petroleum products. Most of the petroleum production takes
place in the Comodoro Rivadavia area, where it has been
operating since 1907. Alongside the fields in Neuquén at Río
Negro, this area supplies the capital Buenos Aires with
petroleum via pipelines.
In 2016, primary energy consumption was 3.6 exa joules (EJ),
of which 14 per cent was based on imports. Per capita
consumption is about 80 GJ. About half of the country's
energy needs are covered by natural gas.
Natural gas also accounts for about half of the energy
used for the production of electrical energy, while around
25 percent is based on hydropower. The country has large
hydropower resources that have not yet been utilized, but in
recent years several large hydropower plants have been
built, including Yaciretá-Apipe (4050 MW) at Río Paraná,
which was built in collaboration with Paraguay. South
America's first nuclear power plant is located in Atucha at
Río Paraná 100 km from Buenos Aires. Later, a nuclear power
plant south of Córdoba was completed, and nuclear power
covers about 10 percent of the power demand.
The industry has traditionally been based on the
processing of agricultural products. There are a number of
slaughterhouses, dairies, freezers, canned mills, mills,
sugar refineries, textile and leather factories and so on.
However, with state support, there has been rapid growth in
many other branches of industry, especially after the Second
World War. This includes plastics, steel, machinery, cement
The industry is largely concentrated to Buenos Aires and
the Pampas area, as well as to the ports along Río Paraná
and close to the commodity deposits. The country's largest
steel mill, which was commissioned in 1960, is located in
San Nicolás at Río Paraná below Rosario. Iron and steel
production also takes place in Rosario, Buenos Aires and
Zapla. San Lorenzo, 24 km above Rosario, is at the heart of
a large petrochemical complex that produces plastic
products, fertilizers and synthetic rubber. There is
aluminum production in Puerto Madryn on the coast of
Patagonia. From 2001 to 2002, Argentina suffered a crisis
that led to a sharp decline in industrial production.
Argentina has a large deficit on its foreign trade and
the country's large foreign debt entails significant
interest payments abroad. Foreign debt was more than four
times the value of exports during most of the 1990s.
In 2017, Argentina exported goods abroad for a total of
US $ 58.4 billion (INDEC, 2018). Most of the export value
consists of agricultural peoducts (soy, maize, beef). The
country also exports some oil and gas, fruit and biodiesel
In 2017, Argentina imported goods for $ 66.8 billion
(INDEC, 2018). Imports include machinery, chemicals, iron,
steel and coal and are from countries such as Brazil,
Mexico, USA, Germany and China (see table).
Transport and Communications
Argentina has the largest and densest rail network in
South America (approximately 33,000 km). The course was
built and operated by British and French companies,
nationalized in 1948 and later privatized. The runways
gather in Buenos Aires; three of them cross the Andes, to
Santiago and Antofagasta in Chile and La Paz in Bolivia.
The road network has a length of approximately 218,000
km, of which 30 per cent has a fixed tire. Construction of a
42 km long bridge over the Rio de la Plata, between Punta
Lara (near Buenos Aires) in Argentina and Colonia del
Sacramento in Uruguay. Estimated construction time is 35
years (1999). Bus transport is important for passenger
Main port cities are Buenos Aires, Quequén and Bahía
Blanca. There are 10 international airports, most
importantly Ezeiza, 35 km outside Buenos Aires.
Largest trading partners
Foreign trade in billions of dollars, broken down by
|Europe (especially Germany, Spain, France and
|United States (including Puerto Rico and
Exports by major commodity groups in 2016, when total
exports were worth $ 58.4 billion.
||Percentage of total
|Cattle products (meat, leather and milk)
|Oil and gas
Imports by major commodity groups in 2017, when total
imports were worth $ 66.9 billion.
||Percentage of total
|Capital and investment goods (machinery,
|Parts for capital and investment goods
|Consumables (food, drink, clothing, etc.)