World|politics|September 4, 2018 / 04:30 PM
'This is an emergency': Argentina is slashing half of its government ministries

AKIPRESS.COM - rgentina is getting rid of half of its government ministries and hiking taxes on exports as it grapples with the collapse of its currency, CNN Money reports.

President Mauricio Macri announced a series of austerity measures on Monday, the day before his government is due to meet officials from the International Monetary Fund. Argentina is trying to speed up the release of cash from a $50 billion bailout plan.

"I have to ask you to understand that this is an emergency and we need your support," Macri said, referring to Argentine exporters who will have to pay the additional tax.

The Argentine peso has cratered this year with investors worried about the government's ability to pay its debts. It has lost more than 50% of its value against the US dollar, one of many emerging market currencies that have come under pressure.

Last week, Argentina's central bank dramatically increased interest rates, from 45% to 60%, in an attempt to stabilize the peso.

Nearly 70% of Argentine government debt is in foreign currencies, according to credit ratings agency Moody's. The falling peso makes it increasingly hard for the government to pay back what it owes.

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