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ARGENTINA | 27-09-2018 17:56

President Macri tells Argentina: 'We have very difficult months ahead of us'

"We have very difficult months ahead of us," said Macri, speaking the day after his government agreed a revamped US$57.1-billion deal with the IMF to help it emerge from the severe economic crisis facing the nation.

President Mauricio Macri warned his countrymen this evening they faced painful months ahead, after his government pledged tough austerity measures to meet the terms of an enlarged crisis loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"We have very difficult months ahead of us," said Macri, speaking the day after his government agreed a revamped US$57.1-billion deal with the IMF to help it emerge from the severe economic crisis facing the nation.

"We knew it would not be easy, we are convinced that this is the only way," the president said in a televised speech.

Argentina's currency has lost half its value against the dollar in 2018, hurting the purchasing power of millions of ordinary Argentines, along with inflation, which is forecast to reach over 40 percent by the end of the year.

"This must be the last crisis. Once the storm is over we will have growth again," Macri declared.

Meanwhile, the peso slipped against the dollar, despite the previous day's announcement of a deal with the IMF.  Argentina has been hit by a sharp depreciation of the peso amid double-digit inflation, with the currency losing more than half of its value this year. The peso dipped Thursday, to close at 40.60 per greenback.

Investors worry that monetary policy conditions imposed under the deal could cause more volatility to Argentina's weak economy.

Earlier today, the INDEC national statistics bureau reported that poverty rose to 27.3 percent on the first half of the year, representing a 1.6-percent increase on the latter half of 2017.

Those living in extreme poverty reached 4.9 percent, a thin 0.1-percent increase compared to December 2017 and a 1.3-percent drop compared to the first six months of last year.

The figures mean that 501,354 more people are now under the poverty line, while 34,206 more people have slipped into extreme poverty so far this year.

According to INDEC’s data, there are now 12.2 million people who are considered poor in Argentina, with 2.1 million people considered to be living in extreme poverty.

- TIMES/AFP

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