BUENOS AIRES May 23 Argentina's central bank
kept its benchmark interest rate at 26.25 percent on Tuesday and
said it believes the country's inflation rate is easing in May.
It was the third monetary policy meeting since the bank
raised its key rate on April 11, warning at the time of higher
"The estimates and indicators from private and state
monitors for the central bank suggest that in May the economy
has returned to disinflation," the bank said in a statement.
Consumer prices rose 2.6 percent in April, up from 2.4
percent in March, the government's Indec statistics agency said
earlier this month.
Twelve-month inflation through April was 27.5 percent, Indec
said in its first 12-month reading since President Mauricio
Macri took office in late 2015. Consumer price data published by
the previous government was widely dismissed as inaccurate.
The bank is targeting 12-month inflation of 12 percent to 17
percent for the end of the year, though the latest central bank
survey of economists puts it at 21 percent.
While the bank fights inflation, Macri is trying to get the
economy moving ahead of an October mid-term election that could
be crucial to his chances for getting more of his pro-market
policy changes through Congress after eight years of
free-spending populism under previous leader Cristina Fernandez.
At 40 percent, Argentina had one of the world's highest
inflation rates last year.
(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)