- Title: Argentina poverty reaches 32.2 pct in first data release in years
- Date: 28th September 2016
- Summary: LIMA, BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE, ARGENTINA (FILE) (REUTERS) CONSTRUCTION WORKERS AT SITE BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS AT SITE PACHECO, BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE, ARGENTINA (FILE) (REUTERS) EMPLOYEES WORKING AT FACTORY
- Embargoed: 13th October 2016 22:05
- Keywords: Argentina poverty President Mauricio Macri
- Location: BUENOS AIRES, LIMA, PACHECHO, BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE, ARGENTINA
- City: BUENOS AIRES, LIMA, PACHECHO, BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE, ARGENTINA
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00551HF0AR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nearly one-third of Argentina's population lives in poverty, the government said on Wednesday (September 28) in the first official poverty data published in three years, underscoring the difficulty of reaching President Mauricio Macri's stated "zero poverty" goal.
In a survey of 27.2 million people in 31 urban areas, 8.8 million people, or 32.2 percent, were below the poverty line. Just over 6 percent qualified as "indigent" in the second quarter of 2016, the government statistics agency, Indec, said.
"Clearly this is a blow for us, to know that 1 in 3 Argentines live below the poverty line. This is something that pains us, that should pressure us to commit to working together so that day by day this situation can be fixed. We are called to this path together towards zero poverty," announced Macri.
The Argentine president has enacted a number of market-friendly reforms since taking office in December, pleasing Wall Street but spurring inflation and swelling the ranks of the poor.
He also revamped government statistics agency Indec after widespread allegations of manipulation by former leftist President Cristina Fernandez. The agency last published poverty data in October 2013 for the first half of 2013, when it said just 4.7 percent of people lived in poverty.
Macri said bringing down inflation and the deficit was the key to boosting the nation's economy and cutting into the poverty rate.
"The correct path is the one we have taken, reducing inflation for which we are all responsible. We all need to understand the limits on our lives of living below inflation and the strength that we need to demonstrate to achieve a reduction in inflation. Now is the time to discuss the national budget, which will be released in the coming weeks. We all need to understand that when we say we have a high fiscal deficit then we all have a commitment to reduce it. When you worry about taking on debt then that is one way to reduce the deficit. When you worry about high inflation, then you need to work at being an example for all Argentines so that no one spends more than they earn. You can do it for one month, two months but you can't do it forever," he said.
In the absence of reliable government data, Macri has cited poverty statistics from researchers at the Catholic University of Argentina. Those data showed 32.6 percent of Argentines lived in poverty as of April, up from 29 percent in December 2015, as Macri's decisions to lift currency controls sent inflation soaring as high as 40 percent.
The economy also remains mired in recession, with GDP shrinking 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2016.
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