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Note from Chief Economist

19/04/2020

The week’s balance by Hugo Santa María.

We need to start some engines

Dear friends:

This week, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Central Bank, and Cofide, have completed the regulatory framework applicable to Reactivate Peru, the guaranteed loans program. Financial institutions are already coordinating with their clients and will be ready to start injecting liquidity into the economy once the first bid for funds is carried out. In APOYO Consultoria’s opinión, the guaranteed loans program still has room for improvement and there are important segments in the financial market that are not being covered by it, but we trust that authorities will address this.

The government has also announced a subsidy program in favor of rural households, as well as willingness to consider adjustments to labor regulation seeking joint public and private sector efforts to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on employment. At the end of this week, 5 to 10-year sovereign bonds amounting to US$3 billion were placed at historically low rates and with a level of demand 8 times higher than the placement amount. These are good news indicating that things are in motion amid the pandemic.

Along these lines, we know that many SAE members – company leaders in several economic sectors – have been working tirelessly in the design of protocols for reopening their sectors that require government approval and supervision. As for the Executive branch, some public statements made by authorities indicate that they have already begun to analyze this. For instance, on April 17 in a public event organized by Capeco, the Minister of Health Victor Zamora indicated that protocols are a necessary condition to resume activities and they must be approved by the Ministry of Health. He added that some of the factors that will be taken into account for this approval are the impact on the recovery of macroeconomic indicators and employment generation. In addition, he publically committed himself to review the protocols that the construction association has already submitted to government authorities. These signs are undoubtedly positive, but need to be reflected on concrete results. This requires speedy decision-making and intense public-private cooperation.

On this front, there is no time to request approvals or licenses in different government entities as if these were regular times. The situation requires a multi-sector government team empowered to interact with the private sector and to approve protocols and supervision mechanisms.

Throughout the past six weeks, urban households have lost 50% of their income, on average. If we do not begin to resume economic activities responsibly, no subsidy program or fiscal capacity will be enough to compensate for this impact. Considering that we are increasingly close to the beginning of a slow return to “normal conditions” in which we will have to live with COVID-19 for some time, the guidelines for getting Peru back to work again are urgent.

Best regards,

Hugo Santa María

Partner and Chief Economist
SAE – Business Advisory Service

OUR PERSPECTIVE

Riesgo regulatorio

El 2020 fue el año con el mayor riesgo regulatorio proveniente del Congreso de la República en al menos 15 años. En el 2021, lo más probable es que el riesgo regulatorio se mantenga muy elevado debido a que los principales factores que lo impulsaron al alza continuarán presentes y se han sumado nuevos aspectos que lo exacerban.

Crecimiento 2021

Tras el proceso de reapertura de actividades productivas y levantamiento de restricciones a la movilidad de las personas que se inició en mayo del año pasado, el PBI del Perú casi ha alcanzado su nivel precrisis. De hecho, estimamos que la economía se habría contraído “apenas” 2% en diciembre del 2020, con respecto al mismo mes del año anterior.

Turismo

En el Perú, el turismo receptivo e interno fueron afectados por las duras restricciones y el deterioro severo de los ingresos laborales. El impacto de la paralización casi total en este sector fue especialmente fuerte por su relevancia en el empleo de los hogares.

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