UPDATE 1-Argentina January tax revenue up on exports, inflation

Mon Feb 3, 2014 3:22pm EST

BUENOS AIRES Feb 3 (Reuters) - Argentina's tax revenue rose 37.5 percent in January from a year earlier, exceeding expectations as the top tax official said rising export fees brought relief to public accounts.

Tax revenue rose to 90.3 billion pesos ($11.2 billion), the government said on Monday, well above the median forecast of 81.4 billion pesos in a Reuters poll of five analysts.

"Exportation fees were very strong," said Ricardo Echegaray, head of tax collection agency AFIP.

Prices have also risen between 25 percent and 30 percent over the past 12 months, according to private economists, driving nominal gains in taxes and public spending. The government recognizes inflation of less than half that pace in its official index.

Argentina posted a fivefold annual increase in its primary budget deficit, according to preliminary data cited by Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich at a Friday press conference. The primary deficit is a gauge of fiscal health reflecting the government's budget balance before paying interest payments and maturing debts.

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