(Adds comments from second Treasury official in paragraphs 1,
BUENOS AIRES May 11 Argentine Treasury Minister
Nicolas Dujovne said on Thursday he was confident the economy
would grow more than 3 percent this year, while another treasury
official said the economy had rebounded in March after declining
the prior two months.
The country's center-right government, which is banking on
attracting foreign investment and an infrastructure push to
revive the economy after a deep recession last year, has long
held a forecast for 3.5 percent growth in 2017. Many analysts
see that goal as too optimistic.
"I am very sure that the Argentine economy will grow more
than 3 percent this year," Dujovne told an investors' conference
in Buenos Aires. "We are in a recuperation phase, which is going
Gross domestic product is seen growing 2.7 percent in 2017,
according to a central bank poll of analysts released earlier
this month, a tick slower than the 2.8 percent estimated in the
bank's previous survey.
Argentina's economy contracted 2.3 percent in 2016, as a
currency devaluation and the elimination of utilities subsidies
triggered inflation of around 40 percent, denting consumption.
The economy exited recession with modest growth in the final
two quarters of last year, and market-friendly President
Mauricio Macri is hoping a recovery can boost his coalition's
chances in October's midterm elections, giving him room to
finish his reform agenda.
Speaking to reporters later on Thursday, Treasury Ministry
chief adviser Guido Sandleris said monthly economic data would
likely show that the economy expanded 1.7 percent in March
compared with the previous month, after declining 0.4 percent
and 1.9 percent in January and February, respectively.
He added that the economy would grow 0.8 percent in the
first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2016, and that
growth would accelerate in the second half as salary increases
linked to collective bargaining agreements kicked in, boosting
"No one disputes that we've exited recession and the economy
is recovering," Sandleris said, adding that full-year 2017
growth would likely be around 3 percent.
Government statistics agency Indec is expected to publish
March economic activity data on May 23. First-quarter growth
data is expected on June 21.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)