Argentina logs second straight fiscal surplus in Feb on Milei austerity

Credit: REUTERS/Cristina Sille

Adds detail on results, paragraphs 3-6

BUENOS AIRES, March 15 (Reuters) - Argentina logged a primary fiscal surplus of 1.23 trillion Argentine pesos ($1.45 billion) in February, Economy Minister Luis Caputo said on Friday, marking the second-consecutive month in the black after years of regular deficits.

Libertarian President Javier Milei, trying to get rampant inflation under control, has rolled out austerity measures including painful cuts to state spending, trimming subsidies and pruning the public sector.

Caputo added the first two months of 2024 registered a fiscal surplus of 3.24 trillion pesos, representing 0.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

The financial fiscal surplus - which includes net interest payments on public debt - was 338.1 billion pesos in the month and cumulatively 856.5 billion pesos for the first two months of the year.

The government posted "two consecutive months of financial surplus for the first time since early 2011, accumulating a surplus after interest of almost 0.2% of GDP in the first two months of 2024," the ministry said in a statement.

Milei's government is aiming for a "zero" financial fiscal deficit this year, part of economic targets agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with which the country has an ongoing $44 billion loan program.

($1 = 850.5000 Argentine pesos)

(Reporting by Kylie Madry and Eliana Raszewski; Editing by David Gregorio)


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