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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
Argentine economy's signs of life
Argentine president-elect Nestor Kirchner
Waiting for Kirchner: No statements so far on economic policy
Argentina's economy grew 5.2% year on year in the first quarter of 2003, according to preliminary official figures.

It marks the beginnings of a possible recovery for the South American economy, which has been crippled by four years of recession.

The economy shrank nearly 11% last year, in what the government said was the country's worst economic performance in a century.

A record debt default and steep currency devaluation crushed consumer spending and caused foreign investors to flee.

Bullish

Also on Friday, cabinet chief Alfredo Atanasof was reported as saying that tax collection would be 25% higher in May than in the same month last year.

The Argentine Government has argued that a rise in tax collection indicates economic recovery is on the way.

The government is forecasting 4.2% growth in the economy this year.

Some analysts are more bullish, expecting growth of as much as 10%.

Nervous

The latest news on growth did little for the peso though, which slid 3.5% against the US dollar.

Analysts said investors remained nervous ahead of announcements on economic policy by president-elect Nestor Kirchner.

Mr Kirchner, a centre-left governor from Patagonia, is due to take office on 25 May.

Roberto Lavagna is expected to remain as economy minister and has said the president-elect is not considering any emergency or surprise economic measures.




SEE ALSO:
Argentine leader plans cabinet
16 May 03  |  Americas
Argentina lifts final cash curbs
27 Mar 03  |  Business
IMF clears Argentina loan
19 Mar 03  |  Business
Q&A: Argentina's economic crisis
12 Feb 03  |  Business


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