(Adds quote from Dujovne, context)
BUENOS AIRES Feb 2 Argentina's government
expects foreign direct investment to double in 2017 from 2016,
Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne said on Thursday, citing
inflows from public auctions for renewable and non-renewable
President Mauricio Macri has struggled to attract investment
in his first year in office, even though investors generally
have praised his reform agenda, which has included letting the
peso currency float, reducing the fiscal deficit and reaching a
deal with holdout creditors to return to the global bond market.
"We started from a very low base," Dujovne said. "It's
difficult to put a number on it, but it will be much higher than
The center-right administration held an investment forum in
September 2016, attracting thousands of corporate executives to
Buenos Aires and yielding high-profile investment pledges from
companies like Siemens AG.
But many potential investors are waiting for the outcome of
2017 midterm congressional elections to ensure the country stays
Nearly $60 billion in investments have been announced in
Argentina since the beginning of 2016, government data shows. Of
that, $33 billion was from other countries, with the rest
originating in Argentina. The figure includes some
Companies have not yet executed all the investment they have
promised, however. The amount of FDI that passed through the
central bank's accounts was less than $4 billion last year,
"Adding up the disbursements from the renewable and
non-renewable energy auctions alone, we're approaching a much
higher figure," Dujovne said.
The government awarded 30 tenders for wind and solar energy
projects worth some $4 billion late last year. Argentina faces a
severe energy deficit, and Macri hopes boosting domestic
renewable energy production can reduce the country's dependence
on natural gas imports.
Last month, Macri announced a deal with oil companies
including Chevron and Shell to invest $5
billion to tap Argentina's vast Vaca Muerta shale gas reserve,
though $2.3 billion of that investment will come from
state-owned oil company YPF.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)