(Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s central bank lowered the floor of its benchmark interest rate for the fifth time under President Alberto Fernandez in an effort to stimulate growth and make credit more accessible.
The rate floor was cut to 48% on Thursday from 50%. Central bank chief Miguel Pesce has lowered it from 63% since taking office Dec. 10.
“The policy interest rate is at adequate levels considering an inflation slowdown that's starting to show,” the central bank said in post-decision statement.
Analysts expressed concern about that message, saying that while high-frequency data showed prices cooling, it’s still too early to act on that.
“The signals don’t seem that convincing, nor sustained, to consider that we’re facing a disinflation period, let alone one that justifies new rate cuts,” Adrian Yarde Buller, chief economist at Brokerage SBS, wrote in a note.
Pesce changed the central bank’s priorities after the previous government failed to cool inflation. Consumer prices continued to rise more than 50% a year under former President Mauricio Macri even as interest rates skyrocketed and policy makers froze the amount of money in circulation.
Argentina’s economy is expected to contract in 2020 for the third straight year while wages lag behind inflation and private-sector employment remains at multi-year lows.
(Adds central bank, analyst comments in 3rd, 4th paragraphs)
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