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ECONOMY | 12-04-2023 22:59

Argentina to hold benchmark rate despite March inflation fears

Argentina’s Central Bank is set to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged, despite expectations that upcoming inflation data will show prices accelerated last month. 

Argentina’s Central Bank board will keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Thursday at a weekly meeting despite expectations that inflation data coming Friday will show prices accelerated last month. 

Central Bank directors are expected to hold the key Leliq rate at 78 percent, according to two people with direct knowledge. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimate prices rose seven percent in March from a month earlier, which would be the highest rate since August.

The INDEC national statistics bureau publishes inflation data Friday at 4pm local time. 

Central Bank Governor Miguel Pesce won’t attend the meeting Thursday as he’s in Washington alongside Economy Minister Sergio Massa for the spring meetings at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the people added.  

IMF officials said in a recent statement that accelerating inflation warranted more rate hikes as part of the country’s US$44-billion programme with the lender. The deal calls for Argentina to keep the effective annual rate, which compounds for interest, above the level of annual inflation.

Tighter monetary policy by Argentina’s Central Bank in the past year failed to cool annual inflation already above 100 percent. Officials hiked rates in March for the first time since September. 

by Ignacio Olivera Doll, Bloomberg

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