Argentina's pandemic-hit economy seen shrinking 9.5% this year: central bank poll

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s economy is seen shrinking 9.5% in 2020, according to a monthly poll of analysts by the central bank released on Friday, compared with an estimated 7% decline in the previous survey, as activity gets walloped by a nationwide lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.

The poll came out a day after Latin America’s No. 3 economy reported that industrial output crashed 33.5% in April from the same month last year.

The central bank poll of 40 analysts projected that inflation will be 43.3% this year. The grim economic picture comes as Argentina tries to restructure about $65 billion in debt after defaulting on its sovereign bonds last month.

Striking a deal is key for the country to avoid years of legal battles and being locked out of global capital markets, which happened after a major default in 2001.

Argentina’s construction sector plummeted 75.6% in April from April 2019, government data showed on Thursday.

Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Maximilian Heath; Editing by Leslie Adler