With a significant rebound in expenditure on housing and urban planning, public investment (PI) executed during the first half of 2021 amounted to ARS296.98 billion, which jumped 107.2% in real terms compared to the execution of the same period in 2020.

This improvement is explained both by the increase in capital transfers, which rose 132% year-on-year, and by the higher direct real investment, which jumped 63%.

Thus, the highest proportion of the last four years with respect to primary expenditure was reached: investment represented 7.7%.

  • It accrued 38% of current appropriations, a percentage that climbed to 47.2% in housing and urban planning, one of the most outstanding items, which showed a year-on-year increase of 560.2%.
  • The execution of investment projects involved 452 works for a total of ARS64.62 billion. Of the main 20 -which account for more than half of the funds-, 14 were for the construction of highways and freeways.
  • Buenos Aires and Córdoba were the main recipients of the transfers to provinces and municipalities, which increased by 312.4%.
  • Fifty-four percent of disbursements were concentrated in the Pampas Region, where investment grew by 145.4% YoY.
  • Domestic sources accrued 46.3% of funds and showed an increase of 148.6% YoY compared to the same period a year earlier.


National government’s public investment foreseen in the 2021 Budget Bill will increase to 2.0% of the Gross Domestic Product, 0.6% higher in terms of GDP and a real increase of 51,3% YoY in allocated resources. Transfers to other jurisdictions gain relative share and works related to transportation and housing stand out.

  • Public investment in 2021 would change in its composition in relation to the projected closing for this year, with an increase from 59.4% to 62% of capital transfers to the detriment of real direct investment.
  • Public investment increases in all regions of the country, but mainly in interprovincial or national jurisdiction – categorized as “unspecified” -followed by the Pampas region.
  • The function Transportation will have a real increase of 58.1% YoY, mostly due to works within the scope of the National Road Authority (Dirección Nacional de Vialidad) and the purchase of railway equipment by the Ministry of Transportation.
  • The provinces that explain the year-on-year increase in real direct investment are in the Pampas region: Province of Buenos Aires (121.1% YoY), and in the Northwest Region: Salta (808.4% YoY) and Jujuy (444.6% YoY).
  • The Province of Buenos Aires continues being the main recipient of investment projects, with 37.9% of total resources, a concentration even higher than that estimated for the closing of 2020 fiscal year.
  • The two projects that require more resources are the renewal of Belgrano Cargas railroad tracks and the improvement of the Roca Urban Railway, branch Constitución-La Plata.
  • Transfers for Education and Culture are equivalent to 12.3% of total capital transfers, but represent a real increase of 333.9% YoY, basically due to the improvement of kindergartens’ infrastructures.
  • Deconcentration in the execution of public works is being consolidated.


Public Investment executed during 2019 totaled AR$251.52 billion which, after adjusting for AR$67.28 billion of advances to suppliers included last year asset adjustment of Real Direct Investment, amounted to AR$184.24 billion (-29.7% real variation YoY). This is explained by the reduction of capital transfers (-39.7% YoY), which could not be offset by the increase in Real Direct Investment (2.1% YoY) so public investment measured as a proportion of total expenditure (3.94%) and GDP (0.85%) dropped in 2019.

The current appropriation was 15.6% lower than budgeted in real terms, execution level was at 82.8%, and the average value was AR$4,100 per capita, implying a drop compared to 2018 in real terms.

Expenditure on Real Direct Investment totaled AR$ 87.06 billion in 2019, of which 89.5% were investment projects and 10.5% acquisition of capital goods, with an implementation level of 79.7% and 64.0%, respectively. The drop in Real Direct Investment was of -13.8% YoY in real terms, compared to 2018, given that the decrease in the acquisition of capital goods (-62.9%) could not be offset by the increase of investment projects (+2.1%).

Last year ended with 782 projects with positive current appropriation for AR$97.75 billion, 50% of which were concentrated in 14 projects (1.8%). Only one work comprised 96.5% of them and the rest contained multiple works bringing the total to 840.

The 50 most important works accounted for 72.3% of current appropriations and the financial investment reached 79.4%, a level comparable to the average. The physical execution of these 50 works was highly variable, as the initial programming ranged from 0% to 100%, with an average of 34.9%, while the executed works ranged from 0% to 81.1%, with an average of 17.4%. Of the 840 investment projects under execution, 43.7% showed a minimum degree of physical progress and 19.8% showed a high degree of progress.

On the other hand, 70.4% of works have started in previous years, and 10.8% started in 2019, and the projected duration of works is on average 5.9 years, although concentrated in the range of projects of 5 to 6 years and 1 to 3 years.

In 2019, there were 250 investment projects for the Plan Belgrano with a current appropriation of AR$14.8 billion (-26.3% real variation YoY) and expenditures for AR$16.76 billion, of which 57.7% were incurred by the Northwest region and 42,3% by the Northeast region.

Analysis of Budget Execution – January 2020

Analysis of Budget Execution – January 2020

Total revenue recorded a real drop of 8.7% year on year (YoY) in January, while total expenditures had a growth of 2.3% YoY.

This uneven performance resulted in a financial deficit of AR$568 million, which contrasts with the surplus of AR$29.71 billion recorded in January 2019. On the other hand, the primary balance was AR$84.47 billion, 30.2% lower in real terms than in the same month of last year (AR$79,21 billion).

  • Tax and social security resources, which together accounted for 86.6% of revenues, showed significant decreases. Income Tax (-18.1% YoY) led the decline mainly due to regulatory issues. The drop is also explained by the legal amendment that reduced the obligation to make contributions on a segment of salaries, in addition to the reduction in the number of contributors last year.
  • The distinctive feature of January’s performance was the lower dynamism of Export Duties, which rose only 3.8% in the year-on-year comparison and had been acting as the driving force of the tax collection with sharp increases.
  • On the other hand, property income increased, basically due to resources from the Sustainability Guarantee Fund (FGS), which reached AR$42.8 billion, showing a real increase of 7.6% YoY.
  • The item Pensions fell 0.6% YoY in real terms. Considering the extraordinary “bonus” of AR$5,000 for the lowest pensions, there was a recovery of 10.3% YoY.
  • Economic subsidies (AR$3.61 billion) contracted 52.5% YoY, which is mainly explained by energy subsidies which had registered an execution of AR$2.05 billion in January 2019 and recorded no outlays in January 2020.
  • Consumer goods and payment of utilities reflected a real drop of 58.4% YoY, as well as capital expenditures, which fell 62.1% YoY. Debt services, on the other hand, increased by 12.4% YoY compared to January of the previous year.
Analysis of National Public Investment projected in the 2020 Budget Bill

Analysis of National Public Investment projected in the 2020 Budget Bill

The Budget Bill submitted to Congress in September 2019 estimates a public investment amount for the national government at AR$232.21 billion, with an estimated nominal increase of 19.6% year-on-year with respect to the 2019 closing projection made by the Ministry of Finance.

Public investment of the entire National Public Sector (NPS) -including government-owned companies, trust funds and other entities- would amount to AR$318.02 billion, according to the Message 2020, which is equivalent to 4.9% of the total expenditure of the NPS. This implies a drop of 10.9% year-on-year in relation to what was projected for this year.

The largest increase is in capital transfers made by the national government to other entities or jurisdictions to carry out works or purchase goods, which increased 32.4%. Real direct investment (works projects and equipment acquisition) only increased by 6.1% YoY.

The geographical breakdown of these transfers shows a concentration in the Pampas Region, basically in the Province of Buenos Aires (18%) and in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (10.3%), jurisdictions in which half of the real direct investment is concentrated.

The Bill provides for the execution of 995 projects to be carried out by the national government for an average amount of AR$80 million each. The total amount shows a decline since 2011: from 0.68% of GDP in 2011 to 0.25% in 2020.

The largest amounts are allocated to railway works, such as the improvement of the Belgrano Cargas Railway, which involves several jurisdictions and would demand AR$5 billion, and to the laying of highways, including Route 19 connecting San Francisco with Córdoba or Route 8 connecting Pilar with Pergamino.

In the rest of the Public Sector, the main direct investments would be carried out by government-owned companies: Nucleoeléctrica Argentina S.A. (36.9% of the total), and Integración Energética Argentina S.A. – Ex- ENARSA (30.3%).

Analysis of Budget Execution – November 2019 – Accrual Basis

Analysis of Budget Execution – November 2019 – Accrual Basis

The primary balance for the month of November resulted in a deficit of AR$109.34 billion, the third month of the fiscal year with a negative outcome. Debt interest amounted to AR$124.23 billion, which had an impact on the deficit of AR$233.57 billion in the month and accumulated a disequilibrium of AR$568.49 billion in the eleven months of the current year. Even so, this figure implied a real improvement of 32.9% YoY compared to that recorded in November last year.

National government revenues increased 58.8% year-on-year (YoY), mainly explained by the growth of Export Duties (141.1% YoY in real terms), as the agro-export sector speeded up settlements due to the expectation of an increase in tax rates.

November was the month with the highest year-on-year expansion of total expenditures so far this year (87.2% YoY), mainly driven by the growth of real direct investment (1,302.6% YoY), transfers to provinces (206.9% YoY) and interest on debt (155.1% YoY).

As of November 30, 82.0% of total budget was accrued, with the execution of current transfers to the provinces (86.2%) standing out. During this period, the initial budget approved for the year increased by AR$797.26 billion, which represents 19.1% of the initial appropriation. A total of 88.8% of the amendments were implemented through Necessity and Emergency Decrees, and the remaining 11.2% through Administrative Decisions.

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