Argentina registered a primary surplus of 30.3 billion pesos (USD 719 million) for the first half of 2019, Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne revealed on Friday. That surpasses the 20 billion pesos mandated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with which Argentina negotiated last year a USD 56 billion bailout loan.
It's a marked improvement on the primary deficit of 105.8 billion pesos recorded for the same period last year. "It's the first time in eight years that the non-financial public sector has had a surplus in the first semester," Dujovne said in a press statement.
The healthy results were posted despite a 6.6 billion-peso primary deficit in June alone. June was, however, the 24th consecutive month in which total revenues rose proportionally more than primary expenditure did, Dujovne added.
"It's the 10th successive year the government has achieved its fiscal target," he said in a news conference. Dujovne said the government predicted for 2019 a fiscal deficit of 0.3 percent of gross domestic product and that it would raise the fiscal target for the third quarter from 60 to 70 billion pesos.
Argentina has committed to fiscal balance in 2019 and a one percent surplus for 2020 as part of the IMF loan deal agreed by center-right President Mauricio Macri. He is hoping to be re-elected in October for a second term but the IMF-backed austerity measures applied by his government have been hugely unpopular among ordinary Argentines and his share in opinion polls has plummeted.
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