May 31, 2018 / 8:29 PM / 2 years ago

E-commerce firm MercadoLibre to launch Argentina investment fund

BUENOS AIRES, May 31 (Reuters) - Latin American e-commerce firm MercadoLibre plans to launch an investment fund in Argentina in coming months so clients can invest in high-yielding, short-term securities, company executives said on Thursday.

In a country where nearly half the population does not have a bank account, MercadoLibre wants to give consumers a chance to boost savings with local investment vehicles, chief executive Marcos Galperin told journalists.

The company is partnering with local lender Banco Industrial (BIND) and may launch similar programs in Brazil and Mexico, said Osvaldo Gimenez, a company vice president.

Earlier this month, Argentina’s central bank hiked interest rates to 40 percent, the highest in the world, to stop a run on the peso currency and control double-digit inflation. Its one-month Lebac securities have the same rate.

“Leftover cash does not generate income,” Galperin said. With the Mercado Fondo product, “all the balance left in digital wallets will immediately generate an income similar to that of the Lebacs.” (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski, Writing by Caroline Stauffer, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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