total: 2,766,890 sq km
land: 2,736,690 sq km
water: 30,200 sq km
Climate: mostly temperate; arid in southeast; subantarctic in southwest
Natural resources: fertile plains of thepampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium
Environment—current issues: erosion results from inadequate flood controls and improper land use practices; irrigated soildegradation; desertification; air pollution in Buenos Aires and other major cities; water pollution in urban areas; rivers becoming polluted due to increased pesticide and fertilizer use
Economy—overview:Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. However, when President Carlos MENEM took officein 1989, the country had piled up huge external debts, inflation had reached 200% per month, and output was plummeting. To combat the economic crisis, the government embarked on a path of tradeliberalization, deregulation, and privatization. In 1991, it implemented radical monetary reforms which pegged the peso to the US dollar and limited the growth in the monetary base by law to the growth inreserves. Inflation fell sharply in subsequent years. The Mexican peso crisis produced capital flight, the loss of banking system deposits, and a severe, but short-lived, recession in 1995; a seriesof reforms to bolster the domestic banking system followed. Real GDP growth recovered strongly, reaching almost 9% in 1997. In 1998, increasing investor anxiety over Brazil, its largest tradingpartner, produced the highest domestic interest rates in more than three years and slowed growth to 4.3%. Despite the relatively high level of growth in recent years, double-digit unemployment rates havepersisted, largely because of rigidities in Argentina's labor laws
Dsemployed 12% (October 1998)
Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (provincias, singular—provincia), and 1 federal district*...
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