(Adds statement from minister, total financial result)
BUENOS AIRES, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Argentina posted a primary fiscal surplus of 3.6 billion pesos($231.72 million at the current exchange rate) in January, the first positive monthly result since January 2016, the Treasury Ministry said on Friday.
The primary budget balance, which measures government spending relative to income and does not include debt payments, is followed by the markets as an indicator of Argentina’s ability to meet its financial obligations.
In a statement, Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne said the result was consistent with the ministry’s fiscal target for the first quarter of 2017, which is a deficit of 0.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). For the full year, the government is targeting a fiscal deficit of 4.2 percent of GDP.
The total financial result, which includes interest payments on public debt, was a deficit of 5.6 billion pesos.
$1 = 15.4800 Argentine pesos Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Bernadette Baum