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Poverty in Argentina hits 20-year high at 57.4%, study says

In World
February 18, 2024

BUENOS AIRES – Poverty levels in Argentina hit 57.4 per cent in January, the highest in at least 20 years, according to a report by the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) cited by local media on Feb 18.

According to the report, the devaluation of the peso currency carried out by President Javier Milei shortly after his inauguration in early December – and the price hikes caused by it – exacerbated poverty levels, which closed 2023 at 49.5 per cent.

“The true inheritance of the caste model: Six out of every 10 Argentines are poor,” Mr Milei, a libertarian, said in a social media post late on Feb 17.

Mr Milei took office promising to “dollarise” the economy, tame an annual inflation rate of more than 200 per cent, eliminate the fiscal deficit and end benefits for Argentina’s political dynasties, which Mr Milei calls “the caste.”

In December, his government rolled out sweeping economic reforms, primarily a 54 per cent peso devaluation against the US dollar, causing Argentines’ incomes to collapse as prices shot up.

Other measures included slashing energy and transportation subsidies and rolling out tax hikes aimed at reaching fiscal balance.

On Feb 16, Argentina’s economy ministry reported a January budget surplus of 518.41 billion pesos (S$835 million), the first time the number has been in the green since August 2012.

Reuters was not immediately able to see a copy of the report.

UCA did not respond to a request for comment. REUTERS

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