Thursday, 13 Dec 2018
World

AP interview: Argentine leader sees a difficult road to go

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – The Argentine president is celebrating the success of organizing the G-20 summit, but said Monday that he was ready to face the difficult times that his country would face in the face of the economic crisis.

President Mauricio Macri told The Associated Press during an interview at the Presidential Palace that Argentina had concluded investment agreements of about 8 billion dollars with d & # 's. Other countries on the margins of the summit, mainly focused on energy and infrastructure.

Argentina had previously obtained a record loan of $ 56 billion from the International Monetary Fund. But Macri said that the country still had a long way to go to cope with the economic crisis that followed the sharp depreciation of the Argentine currency, which it described as a "catastrophe".

Argentines continue to lose purchasing power due to about 45% higher inflation in the world. A third drought also hurt the crop yields of the world's third largest soybean and maize exporter, and the peso depreciated by about half this year. The economic unrest sparked massive protests, but Macri said Argentina was on the road to recovery after the IMF loan, support from world leaders at the G-20 and a series of measures to boost the economy. Austerity aimed at reducing the budget deficit to zero the next year.

"We have to stop spending more than we have," Macri said during a thorough interview at the presidential palace. "This will naturally lead to a drop in inflation, which will begin to fall in November and December, and we are working so that, like 98% of other countries in the world, we can reach a figure of less than 10% as quickly as possible. . "

The conservative president took office in 2015 promising to restore the weakness of the Argentine economy and end poverty. Since then, he has been credited with resolving a long-standing legal dispute with creditors who have returned the country to global credit markets for the first time since the worst crisis of 2001-2002. It also removed currency controls and ordered the government to publish credible statistics, which had been challenged by the IMF and analysts of its predecessors.

But in an effort of austerity, he has also fired thousands of state employees and reduced energy subsidies, sparking utility bills and tariffs. bus. Macri also abandoned the foreign exchange controls of the previous government, thus inaugurating the sharp devaluation of the peso.

Macri refused to provide estimates of economic growth or consumer prices, citing volatility. Rising interest rates in the US led investors to withdraw dollars from Argentina early in the year, while the US-China trade war shook global markets.

"We are no longer making forecasts because the world is changing so much. One of our biggest mistakes may have been forecasting, "he said. "Will inflation be lower? Yes. Will the economy grow again? Yes. Slowly, we will do our best to make it as soon as possible, but I do not want to make a prediction. "

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, disseminated, rewritten or redistributed.

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