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Argentina raises interest rate to 97%, inflation rate at 100%

IANS | May 16, 2023 01:06 PM

BUENOS AIRES: The Central Bank of Argentina raised its key interest rate by six percentage points to 97 per cent in an effort to tackle soaring inflation that has reached 30-year highs.

Central banks across the globe are struggling to rein in inflation, but it's a particular problem in Argentina, where the annual inflation rate soared above 100 per cent last month, CNN reported.

That's the highest level since the early 1990s, and currently, Venezuela and Zimbabwe are the only two countries experiencing higher inflation than Argentina, according to International Monetary Fund data.

In a statement on Monday, the central bank also said that it is hoping the rate hike will incentivise investments in the country's currency.

The exorbitant inflation resulted in large outflows of investments held in the Argentine peso, leading to a 23 per cent decline in its value against the US dollar this year.

Ahead of a presidential election set for October, Economy Minister Sergio Massa is focused on avoiding an even bigger devaluation of the currency and containing inflation.

He has been seen as a potential third-party candidate since incumbent President Alberto Fernandez announced last month that he won't seek re-election, and Massa's success is likely to be tied to the result of this inflation-battling plan.

But the new rate hike is unlikely to bring any real change to Argentinian markets, analysts said, CNN reported.

"The feeling is that the government is completely losing it against inflation, " said Miguel Kiguel, a financial adviser and former deputy manager at the Central Bank of Argentina.

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