ARGENTINA NEXT? Peso PLUNGES 45% as Currency Collapses

Pedestrians walk past an electronic board showing currency exchange rates in Buenos Aires' financial district, Argentina, June 29, 2018. It is expected to enter recession in the third quarter. That could hurt Macri's re-election prospects in next year's presidential race.

"I stressed my support for Argentina's policy efforts and our readiness to assist the government in developing its revised policy plans".

The Central Bank said in a statement that it was hiking its benchmark interest rate in response to the current currency scenario and the risk of greater impact on local inflation.

The surprise move, however, failed to stabilize the peso. It finished down 13.12 percent at a record closing low of 39.25 pesos per USA dollar, after touching 42 pesos earlier in the day.

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has asked the International Monetary Fund to release a $50-billion (Rs 3.53 lakh crore) loan early amid concerns that the country will be unable to meet its debt obligations for 2019. Macri said on Wednesday that the move was meant to restore market confidence in the Argentine economy, BBC reported.

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Most Argentinians have bad memories of the IMF and blame the worldwide lending institution for encouraging policies that led to the country's worst economic crisis in 2001.

A pan-European stock index closed down 0.3 percent. The three-year standby financing deal is aimed at strengthening its weak economy and helping it fight inflation, which at 30% per year is one of the highest rates in the world.

Elected in 2015 on a pledge to end Argentina's repeated cycles of crises, Macri said his orthodox policies would set the stage for sustainable growth.

Government spending reductions face opposition from Argentines reeling from cuts in public utility subsidies, a move that has pushed home heating, electricity and water bills higher.

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