UPDATE 1-Argentina posts 3 pct growth in 2013, dodges GDP warrant bullet
(Adds context, analyst quotes)
By Hugh Bronstein and Alejandro Lifschitz
BUENOS AIRES, March 27 (Reuters) - Argentina said on Thursday its gross domestic product expanded 3.0 percent last year, below the 3.22 percent level that would have triggered about $3.5 billion in payments to holders of GDP bond warrants.
Warrants trading in the secondary debt market fell up to 13.7 percent after the government announced the figure.
Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said the 2013 growth data was calculated using 2004 as the base year, rather than 1993.
"Three percent growth is still very good considering the international context, which was complicated," Kicillof said.
If the government had used 1993 as the base, growth would have come in at 5.1 percent, triggering costly payments to warrant holders.
"The decision to make such a large revision to the GDP data confirms concerns about manipulation of the country's macroeconomic data," said Walter Molano, emerging markets analyst at U.S.-based BCP Securities.
But Siobhan Morden, New York-based head of Latin American strategy at Jefferies LLC, said the 3 percent growth figure is closer to the estimates of private economists than what it would have been under the previous base year. Continuación...