Between 1998 and 2002, Argentina experienced a massive economic depression. The depression was a result of the Russian and Brazilian financial crises. Unemployment, inflation and debt rates in Argentina skyrocketed. This caused Argentina to default of its sovereign debts, leaving a legacy of poor fiscal discipline in an atmosphere of high borrowing fees that has been fueled by political rhetoric. Argentina has continued to struggle with inflation, with the inflation rate in Argentina in 2018 estimated to exceed 31 percent. Reliable figures for the years 2014 through 2016 are not available. The high inflation and fear of another economic depression have opened up a large black market for foreign currency, especially in the metropolis of Buenos Aires.
Since 2009, gross domestic product in Argentina has fluctuated significantly. In addition, it is estimated that GDP per capita in Argentina has been similarly volatile. Argentina has been able to strengthen its economy somewhat since the depression ended in 2002, which was aided by a consistent positive trade balance. In 2009, the country reported a record-high 16.9 billion U.S. dollars trade surplus. Surprising given the currency crisis, Argentina had a trade deficit in 2017, suggesting economic headwinds. Still, some signs point to an economic upswing, but dark clouds are also gathering. National debt in relation to gross domestic product and the country's budget deficit are likely to increase for most of the foreseeable future.