Battered Argentine peso hit by new fall

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Argentina's beleaguered currency passed a symbolic barrier on Thursday, reaching a mark of more than 40 to the dollar amid a crisis in investor confidence.

The peso lost 2.88 percent to close at 40.24 -- down 6.14 percent for the week -- as Argentina battles to stave off an economic crisis, with inflation predicted to surpass 40 percent for 2018.

The peso has been hit badly by falling market confidence since April, despite President Mauricio Macri's attempts to steady the ship.

Street protests have intensified as the peso has lost more than half of its value against the dollar since the start of the year.

Having recently lost 20 percent of its value in just two days, the peso had seemed to be starting to recover last week, clawing back 5.35 percent in just three days.

But that proved a false dawn: even the agreement of a $50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in June has failed to boost the currency.

And austerity measures, including raking up interest rates to a world-high 60 percent, have not appeased nervous investors.

Teachers were the latest group to protest on Thursday, angered at the loss in real value of their salaries due to rocketing inflation.