Macri says Argentina on 'right path' after upbeat economic data

Argentine President Mauricio Macri speaks at the Inter-American Development Bank's annual meeting in Mendoza, Argentina March 24, 2018. Argentine Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s economic activity surged 4.1 percent in January compared with the same month in 2017, and activity expanded by 0.6 percent from December, government statistics agency Indec said on Wednesday.

In separate reports, Indec said Argentina’s poverty rate fell to 25.7 percent in the second half of 2017 from 28.6 percent in the first half of the year and 30.3 percent in the second half of 2016, and that industrial output expanded 3.9 percent year-over-year.

The positive set of statistics come after data last week showed Argentina’s economy expanded 2.7 percent in 2017, rebounding from recession in 2016.

“This news gives us confidence because it confirms that we are on the right path,” President Mauricio Macri, who has been implementing market-friendly policies designed to cut the fiscal deficit, reduce inflation and attract foreign investment since taking office in December 2015, said in a televised statement.

Macri reiterated on Wednesday that he wanted his presidency to be judged by whether he manages to reduce poverty. He is expected to run for re-election next year after the conclusion of his four-year term.

The government began publishing poverty statistics in late 2016 for the first time since October 2013.

Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Sandra Maler