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Macri hikes argentina's electricity rates 24.4 pct in push to cut deficit



By Reuters

Petroleumworld 08 02 2018

Electricity bills in Argentina will increase sharply by 24.4 percent on average, Energy Minister Javier Iguacel said on Wednesday, the latest in a series of hikes aimed at cutting subsidies and reducing the fiscal deficit.

President Mauricio Macri has gradually reduced subsidies since taking office in December 2015, improving public finances but contributing to inflation that hit 29.5 percent in June. The subsidy cuts have triggered protests, and in May Macri was forced to veto a bill freezing utility rates.

The move comes after the transportation ministry last Friday announced a 30 percent hike in bus and train fares in the Buenos Aires metro area. In March, the government announced price hikes for home heating natural gas of between 28 and 40 percent.

The government said in June it would reduce energy and transport subsidies by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 and 2019, respectively, as part of a $50 billion standby financing deal agreed to with the International Monetary fund (IMF) in June after a run on the peso currency.


Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Scott Squires Writing by Luc Cohen Editing by Ross Colvin and Phil Berlowitz from Reuters. 08 01 2018

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