Argentina, Combating Plummeting Currency, Raises Interest Rate to 60%

Argentina’s central bank raised the country’s main interest rate by 15 percentage points on Thursday as it attempted to slow the fall of its plunging currency and address fears the country will not be able to make its debt payments.

The announcement, which ramps up Argentina’s benchmark lending rate to 60 percent, came a day after the country’s president, Mauricio Macri, said he had asked the International Monetary Fund to release $50 billion in credit earlier than had been agreed.

The central bank said its monetary policy committee had made the unanimous decision to address the plummeting value of the Argentine peso, and to counter fears that could drive faster inflation. The currency has lost nearly half its value against the dollar since the start of the year — one dollar had bought 18.8 pesos, and now purchases 35.9 pesos — and fell as much as 15 percent on Thursday.

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