The Argentinian economy was suffering from sustained deficit spending and an extremely high debt overhang, and one of its attempted reforms included fixing its exchange rates to the US dollar. When Brazil, as its largest neighbor and trading partner, devalued its own currency in 1999, the Argentinian peg to the US dollar prevented it from matching any of that devaluation, leaving its tradeable goods to be less competitive with Brazilian exports.
Along with a trade imbalance and balance of payment problem, the need for credit to finance its budget deficits made Argentina's economy vulnerable to economic crisis and instability. In 1999, the economy of Argentina shrank by 3.4%. GDP continued to decline: 0.8% in 2000, 4.4% in 2001, and 10.9% in 2002. One year before, in Brazil, low water level in hydroelectric plants, combined with a lack of long-term investment in energy security, forced the country to do an energy rationing program, which negatively affected the national economy.
- I.M.F. Loan to Brazil Also Shields U.S. Interests, The New York Times, August 9, 2002
- Brazil May Not Stay Upright on a Shaky Global Stage, The New York Times, October 6, 2002
- A Look at Argentina’s 2001 Economic Rebellion and the Social Movements that Led It - video report by Democracy Now!
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