Tuesday, April 16, 2024

ECONOMY | 19-02-2024 14:06

Milei blames political 'caste' as study estimates 57% poverty rate in Argentina

President blames political "caste" for the soaring poverty that a study estimates plagues 57% of population.

President Javier Milei has blamed Argentina’s political "caste" for the soaring poverty that a study estimates now plagues nearly 60 percent of the population.

"The true heritage of the caste model: 6 out of 10 Argentines are poor. The [economic)] destruction of the last hundred years has no parallel in the history of the West," Milei said in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

He was reacting to figures released by the Catholic University of Argentina's Social Debt Observatory, which estimated 57.4 percent of Argentines lived below the poverty line in January.

January was the first full month in office for Milei, who was elected in November to dislodge the long-dominant Peronist political movement known for a generous welfare program and heavy subsidies.

The poverty figure represented more than 26 million people and was a significant jump from the 49 percent measured in December, when Milei's government devalued the peso, lifted price controls and increased tariffs.

According to the study, extreme poverty affected 15 percent of the population, almost seven million people, in January.

The figures represent a jump from December 2023, when the UCA study recorded a 49 percent poverty rate and 14 percent destitution rate.

In comments to the La Nación newspaper on Sunday, the director of the observatory, Agustín Salvia, described the report as "a statistical simulation" based on data "from the third quarter" of 2023. 

But "I don't think we are very far from what is happening," he added.

January's poverty figure was the highest in 22 years. 

"If inflation comes down, there will be quick relief. Otherwise we will be facing a social catastrophe," Salvia told La Nación.

The same month, the Argentine government saw its first monthly budget surplus in nearly 12 years while inflation slowed slightly but still reached 254 percent year-on-year.

Economist Milei has been negotiating loan conditions with the International Monetary Fund and has vowed to achieve balance in public finances this year. 

He has forecast an economic rebound within three months.



related news
) The president of Argentina, Javier Milei, accused the political "caste" (leadership) of being responsible for poverty reaching 57% of the population, according to data from an academic study.


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