Argentina rate hiked to 69.5% as inflation hits 20-year high

- BBC News

Argentina rate hiked to 69.5% as inflation hits 20-year high

Argentinas central bank has raised its main rate of interest to 69.5% as it tries to contain soaring inflation.

The bank put up its 28-day benchmark rate by 9.5% percentage points, its second hike in as many weeks.

It comes as new figures showed inflation in the country had hit a 20-year high of over 70%.

The numbers dashed hopes that price rises had peaked after the latest US data showed that inflation had eased.

"The rise in the policy rate will help reduce inflation expectations for the remainder of the year," the bank said in a statement.

The move came after the bank raised the rate by 8 percentage points two weeks ago and marks its eighth hike this year.

The countrys inflation rate is forecast to top 90% by the end of the year.

Controlling soaring prices, tackling high debt levels and reining in government spending in South Americas second largest economy are at the top of the agenda for Argentinas latest economy minister, Sergio Massa.

Mr Massa, who is the third person to hold the post since early last month, aims to calm inflation using a more conventional approach than his predecessors.

Along with raising interest rates, he has pledged to not call on the central bank to print more money this year to fund government spending.

In July, Martín Guzmán resigned as finance minister after being in the role for more than two and a half years. His successor Silvina Batakis lasted just a month in the post.

Earlier this year, Argentina avoided defaulting on a $44bn International Monetary Fund loan.

However, the impact of measures the government has to implement to meet the conditions of the deal is a major cause of concern for many in the country.

In recent weeks, protestors have taken to the streets of the capital Buenos Aires to demonstrate against President Alberto Fernández handling of the economy.

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