BUENOS AIRES May 14 Argentina will increase
child welfare payments by 40 percent to $6.84 billion (55
billion pesos) a year for the country's poor, President Cristina
Fernandez announced on Wednesday.
Jacking up state spending at a time of high inflation, the
new policy will benefit 3.5 million children in what Fernandez
called her effort at "wealth redistribution."
"We believe in the economic theory that to improve the
quality of life of those who have the least and of the workers
will improve the nation, its industries, its businesses, markets
and its professionals," the two-term Peronist leader said in a
Fernandez's fiscal policies are driving one of the world's
highest inflation rates. Consumer prices in Latin America's No.
3 economy rose 1.8 percent in April, the government said earlier
on Wednesday, after gaining 2.6 percent in March and more than 3
percent per month in both January and February.
Argentina revamped its consumer price index at the start of
this year in a bid to win back the trust of financial markets
after years of blatantly underreporting inflation.
But the new index has so far continued to clock inflation at
rates below analysts' estimates. It has come under fire for
failing to list the products measured and make clear how
government-imposed supermarket price caps may be influencing
(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin)