Argentina Seeks to Tame Inflation, Peso with Biggest Rate Hike Since 2019

Argentina's central bank hiked its benchmark interest rate a huge 10 percentage points to 91% on Thursday as it tries to tame high inflation and steady the peso currency, which has tumbled in black market trading over the last week, Reuters reported. The hike, the biggest since a market meltdown in August 2019, comes after the central bank (BCRA) had already lifted the rate last week by 300 basis points to 81% in an effort to control inflation running at 104% annually. The central bank confirmed the hike in a statement after Reuters earlier reported the move, citing bank sources. News of the sharp hike lifted the peso currency in the black market, which strengthened 1.5% to 462/467 per dollar on Thursday, although it was still over 100% off the official exchange rate of 222 per dollar. A higher interest rate offers more incentives to savers to keep their funds in pesos, strengthening the local currency, but weighs on borrowing and economic growth. In a statement the bank said it had raised the benchmark rate to shift toward "real returns on investments in local currency" and to promote savings in pesos. The 91% rate would apply to fixed-term 30-day deposits of up to 30 million pesos. Read more.