Activity in the Gran Rosario is already growing above pre-pandemic levels, but unevenly

The economic activity of the Rosario Region grew in the first semester of 2021 by 5.9% compared to the last of 2020, and by 13.4% over the first. That was to be expected, because they are purchases with the closing stages imposed by the pandemic. The encouraging data is that the same indicator experienced an improvement of 1.1% in relation to the first half of 2019, when the virus had not begun to wreak havoc and the damage, in any case, was the result of the policies established by the previous national management. The data correspond to the latest report from the Institute of Economic Research of the National University of Rosario.

The Synthetic Activity Index of the Rosario Region (Isarr) points out that the regional recession that began in the second quarter of 2018, plus the negative effects of the pandemic that paralyzed a large part of the activities, were felt until the third quarter of 2020, with successive falls in the inter-annual quarterly variations.

The data covers the agglomerate that make up the cities of Rosario, Capitán Bermúdez, Fray Luis Beltrán, Funes, Granadero Baigorria, Pérez, Puerto General San Martín, Roldán, San Lorenzo, Soldini and Villa Gobernador Gálvez.

The year-on-year rise of 3.5% in that geography during the fourth quarter of 2020 ended up being consolidated with increases of 11.3% and 15.6%, in the first and second quarters of 2021. However, the data more Fines allow differentiating different speeds, with the generation of employment clearly delayed with respect to the productive recovery. The contrast between the first semester of 2021 and the same period of the previous year shows, for example, an improvement of almost 82% in the industry and more than 41% of deposits in the financial system against only 1.6% in the series corresponding to employment (graphs 2 and 3).

The Isarr estimates allow us to suppose that the Rosario Region is in a process of economic recovery, especially when compared with the 2019 indicators. The contrasts with 2020 must be taken carefully: it was a unique year due to the effect of the restrictions that the pandemic forced on a global scale since the end of 2019.

The confinement of the population, which in Argentina was carried out more strictly between March 20 and April 26, 2020, resulted in the paralysis of almost all productive activity except for essential ones. Important sectors for the Rosario Region, such as construction and automotive, were completely stopped, and the statistics that reflect their activity showed zero values ​​during April. The Preventive and Compulsory Social Isolation (Aspo) was becoming more flexible and with it, the dynamic was activated again.

End of the recession that started in April 2018, before the pandemic

The Isarr estimates for the first half of 2021 allow us to risk that the recession that started in April 2018 is already ending: the Indicator was 197.4 in the previous month (March 2018). From there, the Rosario Region accumulated 27 months of decline (just over two years), contracting between turning points by 20.8%.

However, the indicator’s previous downward trend began in early 2015. The turning point began in July 2020, when regional economic activity began to show signs of recovery with growth at an average monthly rate of 1, 3%, which were far from offsetting the setbacks.

Different speeds

The expansion of the Isarr in 13.4% during the first half of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020 is combined with disparate increases in the partial indices. General’Employment did so by 7.5%, Industrial Production 48.8% –driven by construction and the automotive sector– and Sales 2.4%.

In fact, if you buy with the first half of 2019, only the Industrial Production Index shows positive signs. The same behavior is observed in the series that make up the sub-indices: all showed positive variations with respect to the first half of 2020 (graph 3) but only Grinding, Automotive Production and Deposits in the Financial System did so with respect to said period of 2019.

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