January 30, 2020 / 9:17 PM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-Argentine central bank cuts benchmark rate for 5th time since December

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BUENOS AIRES, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Argentina’s central bank lowered the benchmark interest rate floor to 48% from a previous 50% on Thursday, it said in a statement, the fifth cut in under two months as the country’s new Peronist government looks to revive economic growth.

Argentina has one of the highest interest rates in the world, set through twice-weekly central bank auctions of short-term Leliq notes. The new government of Peronist Alberto Fernandez has pledged to cut rates to spur the economy.

“The decision was taken considering the recessive conditions in which the economy has been performing, and with a view to defining a path of interest rates compatible with economic recovery,” the central bank said.

Fernandez’s new government has been guiding the rate down since entering office on Dec. 10, with four previous cuts, the most recent on Jan. 16. The economy has been mired in recession and annual inflation is running at above 50%.

The government, racing to restructure around $100 billion in debt with creditors, has said the country will only be able to pay what it owes if it is able to revive growth.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Nicolas Misculin; Editing by David Gregorio

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