BUENOS AIRES -- Argentina on Tuesday raised the minimum monthly wage to 6,060 pesos ($662 at the official rate of 9.1575 pesos per dollar) for workers who work full-time eight hours per day.
The rise of the reference wage -- which represents an increase of 28.5 percent -- will be upped in two installments: the first of 18.5% in August and the second of10% in January.
The wage, which is updated annually by law, is the legal base that is used in collective bargaining between unions and companies and also serves to help unregistered employees.
The increase of wages in Argentina is closely watched because it serves as an indicator of actual inflation in the country, which private economists estimate around 25% annually. That figure is well above the Government's official reports of just 15.6% inflation.
Because of a shortage of dollars in the economy, besides the official rate, Argentina also has a black-market rate -- called a "blue dollar" which rose to over 15.09 pesos to purchase a dollar. At the blue rate, the base monthly salary is $402 a month. The gap between the official rate and blue rate is now over 60%.