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ECONOMY | 15-02-2024 11:36

Argentina’s Milei blasts inflation data, focused on reforms

President Javier Milei blasts Argentina’s monthly inflation figure of 20.6% in January as “horrendous.”

President Javier Milei blasted Argentina’s monthly inflation figure of 20.6 percent in January as “horrendous” even as it came in slightly below estimates, adding that the result should be seen in context.

Milei’s government had planned for a hyperinflation scenario given annual inflation of more than 200 percent, he said in a television interview with LN+ Wednesday night. 

Consumer prices rose 254 percent in January on an annual basis. 

The president’s comments, a little more than two months after he took office, come as his plan to squelch soaring prices fell flat in the opposition-controlled Congress, where the government failed to garner the necessary legislative support for its cornerstone reform bill.

“The zero deficit is non-negotiable,” Milei said in his first interview after a trip abroad to Israel and Italy. “Cleaning up the Central Bank’s balance sheet is non-negotiable.”

Milei said he withdrew his sweeping omnibus bill because he’d prefer no reform at all over implementing bad reforms. 

He said that the International Monetary Fund expects currency controls to be eliminated by the second half of the year and that he maintains dollarisation as his goal. The government will cut the deficit by five percentage points, he said, without giving a timeline for that objective.

Argentines understand what the fiscal adjustment entails and accept it, Milei said.
 

by Kevin Simauchi & Guillermo Molero, Bloomberg

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