Argentine steel industry blames the global supply crunch and weak demand for a collapse in the steel sector that has seen the country’s GDP shrink by more than 6 percent in 2016.
The steel industry’s exports fell 7.9 percent in the third quarter, the most in a single quarter since 2013.
It also lost nearly a third of its production, leaving the sector with less than $3 billion of cash in the bank, according to the government.
More than half of the sector’s output was lost in 2016, and exports were down 7.1 percent, according the National Institute of Statistics and Statistics, or INES.
The industry’s gross domestic product, or GDP, has shrunk by 8.5 percent in three years.
The sector’s main source of income is from export sales to Japan and other Asian countries, where imports account for more than half the economy.
In the last three years, imports have dropped by 12.4 percent, leaving Argentina with an estimated $6 billion of foreign exchange reserves, the INES data showed.
The Argentine economy has been reeling under a decade-long economic downturn.
The peso lost more than 50 percent against the dollar from the start of 2016, when the country defaulted on its debt, and has fallen almost 70 percent since then.