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Argentinian president resorts to ‘emergency measures’ to deal with flailing economy

ARGENTINIAN President Mauricio Macri announced emergency measures yesterday to deal with a growing economic crisis that has seen the value of the currency plummeting to record lows in the last week.

In a televised address Mr Macri announced export taxes on grains and other agricultural products and confirmed further cuts to the number of government ministries, with thousands of jobs set to be axed.

He described the economic situation as an emergency and said the steps were necessary to balance the national accounts.

“We are going to ask those who have more capacity to contribute, I mean those who export in Argentina, that their contribution is greater,” he said.

The growing economic crisis has seen value of the Argentinian peso fall by 16 per cent in the past week despite the government agreeing a US$50 billion (£38.8bn) austerity deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), announcing massive cuts to social programmes and public spending.

Inflation is running at 30 per cent and cuts to subsidies for public utilities have seen sharp rises in household bills.

In a desperate measure last week the Argentinian president asked the IMF for the early release of cash to boost investor confidence in the country’s failing economy and to ensure it can meet next year’s bond repayments.

He confirmed that an agreement had been made with the IMF “to advance all necessary funds to guarantee compliance with next year’s financial programme.”

Mr Macri’s pursuit of neoliberal policies has driven thousands to protest against the signing of the IMF deal, which has raised fears of a return to the devastating effects of the policies of 2001, when one in five were unemployed and millions slid into poverty.

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