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Country Reports

Argentina Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Alberto Fernández of the Peronist coalition Frente de Todos was inaugurated as president on 10 December. He inherits a country in recession, hamstrung by a lack of funding to honour sovereign debt; currency controls; and high inflation. Fernández’s chances of success rely heavily on its ability to restructure debt with the IMF and private creditors. Former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will serve as vice-president, increasing the likelihood of her interfering in economic policy and pushing for state-interventionist policies.GDP contracted 2.5% in 2018 and is expected to fall by 2.8% in 2019, while inflation is likely to reach 54% in 2019. Alberto Fernández’s first main challenge will be to secure renegotiation of a USD57-billion agreement with the IMF, by seeking extended debt maturity and easing of fiscal targets. However, Fernández is still to unveil an economic plan that permits meaningful negotiations with creditors. There are no indications how Argentina will fulfil IMF demands for fiscal prudence to secure a sustainable debt payment plan; on the contrary, Fernández is calling for poverty reduction and a fiscal stimulus.The previous government’s decision to reprofile domestic debt – short-term debt maturity was extended unilaterally – in August, led rating agencies to downgrade Argentina further to reflect the increased risk of default. After the election, the central bank tightened capital controls, severely limiting access to US dollars to individuals. President Fernández is likely to maintain and even deepen these controls to prevent capital flight.The risk of protests and strikes will recede for now, until the new government outlines its fiscal and monetary policies. Labour unions and other social organisations close to Kirchnerism and which voted for Alberto Fernández will give the new president some respite, at least during his first six months in office, but social peace would prove short-lived if the new government opts for stringent cuts in public expenditure.
Last update: December 12, 2019

Operational Outlook

There was a return to price and currency controls export taxes, and a freeze in utility tariffs in Argentina in 2019 after they had been lifted by the pro-business government of former president Mauricio Macri in 2016. The country is now close to default again despite signing an agreement with the IMF in 2018. The new government of Alberto Fernández has inherited an economy in recession, with a growing deficit and without access to capital markets. Fernández has indicated that all the controls introduce by the previous government will remain in place. High levels of corruption and a deteriorating business environment are deterrents to investment.

Last update: December 14, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

The main risk comes from small anarchist groups, which occasionally use homemade IEDs against banks, embassies and police stations. However, risk of large-scale damage to property is low. In 1992 and 1994, two major terrorist attacks allegedly planned by Hizbullah against the Israeli embassy and a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires killed more than 100 people, but no similar attacks have since occurred. Despite some anarchist attacks against police stations in the run-up to the G20 in Buenos Aires in late 2018, no terrorist acts were registered during the event.

Last update: September 19, 2019

Crime

Despite public perceptions of rising insecurity, Argentina’s crime levels remain low by regional standards. Murder rates have been declining, and stood at 5.2 per 100,000 residents in 2017 from 7.6 in 2014. Figures for 2018 have showed a similar trend. There has been a moderate increase in robberies and theft, including in Buenos Aires province. There are occasional media reports of alleged involvement by some regional police forces in drug trafficking, kidnapping, robbery, and torture. Drug trafficking has been growing rapidly because of Argentina’s role as a consumer and transit country.

Last update: September 19, 2019

War Risks

Although reclaiming sovereignty over the Falkland Islands from the United Kingdom is a long-standing foreign policy priority, Argentina’s much-reduced military capabilities and political considerations make another attempt to take the islands by force very unlikely. Foreign ships operating in the disputed area face a low risk of seizure, but military confrontation is highly improbable, given the UK’s marked military superiority and Argentina’s reduced military budget. In recognition of this, Argentina has reiterated it will keep pursuing its claim through diplomatic channels. The issue will continue to be raised at the United Nations and regional groups.

Last update: September 19, 2019

Social Stability

High

Politically and economically motivated protests are likely to subside for the first six months of 2020 because of a truce between new president Alberto Fernández and labour unions. However, at some stage some economic adjustment will be needed to secure a deal with the IMF, increasing the risk of fresh industrial action . Environmental concerns over energy, mining, and genetically modified crops will also remain drivers of protest, as will inflation and perceptions of rising crime. Strikes by the powerful truck drivers’ union pose serious disruption risks for ground cargo nationwide and the country’s main ports. Anti-mining protests by environmentalists and opposition to fracking are likely to drive sporadic localised protests.

Last update: December 14, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers to the following regions: Corrientes and Misiones provinces (northeast). A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Coastal areas of Argentina, including Buenos Aires, and low-lying areas in Santa Fe province are vulnerable to flooding. Some 80 people died in April 2013 in flooding in Buenos Aires province, including within the city limits.

The Andes mountain range, in which Argentina is partially located, is a seismic zone; as such, earthquakes regularly strike in Argentina, particularly in the north and west. However, major damage or loss of life is rare.

Volcanic eruptions in neighboring Chile can lead to major flight disruptions in Argentina, sometimes lasting days or even weeks.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

It should be noted that rail networks are limited and, as such, long-distance travel is usually taken by airplane or by bus.

Buenos Aires is served by commuter rail lines as well as a metro. However, the metro only serves a relatively small part of the city. The rest of the city is served by buses. Public transit is safe in the capital, although users should be on alert for pickpockets. Uber has been banned in the capital region although the application is still active (drivers risk up to ten days in prison).

Taxi scams are relatively common at international airports. Here, the safest types of taxi are private remises, which generally charge by the kilometer, though there is often a set fee when traveling from airports which is paid at the taxi company's kiosk located at the airport. Radio taxis are also safe, as well as plentiful and inexpensive, and can be picked up at taxi stands or hailed off the street; in Buenos Aires they are yellow and black, while outside the capital they are white and blue.

Police checkpoints are common on roads outside the capital and, as such, it is important to always carry your photo ID (passport), driver's license, vehicle registration documents, and car insurance information when driving. The country suffers from relatively high rates of traffic accidents (7896 road fatalities in 2013) and road conditions vary throughout the country.

Adverse weather conditions, such as snow and wind, regularly lead to land border closures with neighboring Chile, many of which are located in the Andes mountain range. On a related note, long waiting times have become common at the border - in particular, at the Los Libertadores border crossing - with Argentineans flocking to shop in Chile, where many products are sold at cheaper prices. There are strict importation laws in Argentina and cars are subject to search. Waiting times tend to be particularly long on weekends, particularly in the weeks preceding Christmas.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Power outages are relatively common in Buenos Aires due to insufficient energy supplies, especially during periods of particularly high temperatures during the summer months (October-March). The outages regularly result in protests as well as traffic disruptions due to nonfunctioning traffic lights.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

In the northeast the climate is subtropical (hot and humid); the rainy season there lasts from November until March during which period violent but brief thunderstorms are common. From May until September, temperatures are pleasant during the day and sometimes cool at night.

In the Buenos Aires region, humidity levels are high all year long. The summer is hot and humid and the winter mild and humid. Springtime is pleasant.

In the northwest the rainy season, when temperatures are high during the day and cool at night, begins in October and ends in March. The rest of the year temperatures are mild and it rain is rare.

In Patagonia, rain is rare throughout the year. Conditions in the winter are dry, sunny, and very windy while summers are mild. In Tierra del Fuego (extreme south), winters are cold and summers cool.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +54
Police (Buenos Aires): 911
Fire Department: 100
Ambulance: 107

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019