LatinNews Daily - 19 April 2022

In brief: Measures to help Argentina’s poorest cope with inflation

* Argentina’s government led by President Alberto Fernández has announced new measures to help the country’s poorest citizens cope with surging inflation and living costs as a result of the war in Ukraine. President Fernández and Economy Minister Martín Guzmán revealed a package of measures which, among other things, will provide low-income workers with Ar$18,000 (US$158), to be given in two instalments, while retirees will receive Ar$12,000 as a one-off payment. According to the government this will be funded by a tax on companies such as those involved in grain exports, which as a result of the Ukraine war saw “unexpected income” with annual profits of over Ar$1bn. Last week Argentina’s national statistics institute revealed that monthly inflation for March was 6.7%, which the media noted was the highest in two decades, bringing the year-on-year rate to 55.1%. This led Argentina’s central bank (BCRA) to raise its benchmark interest rate by 250 basis points to 47% - the fourth such increase this year. A BCRA statement attributed the acceleration of inflation in March to “an international shock that especially affected the prices of food and energy, caused by the war in Ukraine.”

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