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Argentina Country Report

Country Risk Level

Medium

Overview

Executive Summary

The Argentine government reached an agreement over its USD66-billion debt with private creditors in August, taking Argentina out of a technical default. The government's final offer consists of a net present value of USD54.8 per USD100 owed. Argentine authorities will now focus on renegotiating the debt with the IMF.President Alberto Fernández of the Peronist coalition Frente de Todos, has deepened capital controls, limiting access to US dollars and taxing savings in US dollars. He has also increased export taxes for the agribusiness sector, but reduced them for energy and mining. The government has temporarily banned dismissals during the COVID-19-virus crisis. However, Fernández lacks an economic plan aside from debt renegotiations, which makes structural reform aimed at attracting investment unlikely during his term. Fernández is starting to lose support as the COVID-19-virus outbreak shows no signs of abating despite strict confinement measures being in place since March, leading to business closures and job losses. In this context, former president and current vice-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is likely to increase her influence, raising the likelihood of maintaining or deepening state-interventionist policies. The economy is in recession and will deteriorate further because of the economic impact of the pandemic. IHS Markit forecast GDP contraction of 11.5% in 2020. Weaker demand and lower commodity prices will affect exporter sectors. Low oil prices will hinder the government’s efforts to attract foreign investment into the Vaca Muerta unconventional oil and gas play in Neuquén province, which the government considers crucial in recovering economic growth. The risk of protests and strikes is increasing, with unions demanding pay rises and job protection in the context of a deteriorating economy due to the COVID-19-virus pandemic.

Operational Outlook

Peronist president Alberto Fernández has maintained and deepened price and capital controls and export taxes, reinstated by the previous government amid an economic crisis. Further controls are likely, as the economy is in recession, with a growing deficit and without access to capital markets, which will be further complicated by the COVID-19 virus outbreak. High levels of corruption and state-interventionist policies are deterrents to investment. The country came out of technical default after reaching an agreement with bondholders in August 2020.

Terrorism

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.

Crime

Despite public perceptions of rising insecurity, Argentina’s crime levels remain low by regional standards. Murder rates have shown a declining trend and stood at 5.1 per 100,000 residents in 2019, down from 7.6 in 2014. There has been a moderate increase in robberies and theft, including in Buenos Aires province. There is a declining risk of short-term kidnap-for-ransom in the outskirts of Buenos Aires city. Occasional media reports claim involvement by some regional police forces in drug-trafficking, kidnapping, robbery, and torture. Drug-trafficking has been growing because of Argentina’s role as a consumer and transit country.

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 that it will keep pursuing its claim through diplomatic channels. However, under the current Peronist government the issue is likely to once again become a source of diplomatic confrontation, particularly in the United Nations.

Social Stability

High

Politically and economically motivated protests are likely to subside until mid-2020 because of a truce between new president Alberto Fernández and labour unions, which are traditionally close to the ruling Peronism. However, measures implemented to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak increase the likelihood of austerity measures being introduced at a later stage, which would raise the risk of labour strikes and protests by civil society groups. Environmental concerns over energy, mining, as well as high inflation are likely drivers of protest. Strikes by the powerful truck drivers’ union pose serious disruption risks for ground cargo nationwide and the country’s main ports for 24-48 hours at a time.

Health Risk

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.

Natural Risks

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.

Transportation

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.

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:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal