BUENOS AIRES – Argentina finished the first quarter of 2017 with a budget deficit equivalent to 0.40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), a figure that came in 0.20 percent below the government’s target, Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne said on Thursday.
“We have a deficit goal that we’re going to meet,” Dujovne said in a press conference.
The finance minister reviewed the budget figures for the January-March period, telling reporters that the “prudent policies” implemented by President Mauricio Macri’s administration “are starting to impact the numbers.”
If the trend continues, according to Finance Ministry figures, Argentina will end 2017 with a deficit of 49.5 billion pesos ($3.15 billion), equivalent to 4.2 percent of GDP, meeting the government’s goal for the year.
The Macri administration has set a budget deficit target of 3.2 percent of GDP for 2018 and 2.8 percent by the end of the president’s term.
During the January-March period, Argentina’s budget deficit came in at 41.34 billion pesos (about $2.6 billion), meeting the administration’s goal for the first quarter and falling 0.20 percent, compared to the same period in 2016.
The drop in the budget deficit was a result of the tax amnesty that ended in March and the elimination of subsidies for utilities, such as electricity and gas, Dujovne said.
The end of the utility subsidies resulted in consumers having to absorb a large increase in rates.