BUENOS AIRES, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Argentina's official peso currency has started the year weakening at a faster pace than seen in recent months, falling 0.52 percent so far this month to 8.5975 per U.S. dollar after barely budging in December.
The wide breach between the official peso exchange rate and the black market rate, which was 13.72 per greenback on Friday, has fueled speculation the government will pursue a gradual devaluation this year in a bid to spur exports.
In January 2014 the official peso exchange rate plunged 20 percent during the month. No signs of such a steep fall have been seen so far in 2015, and government and central bank officials say a sharp drop in the currency's value is not in the cards.
"The peso is weakening but at a controlled pace," a local foreign exchange trader said. "It's nothing to be concerned about because when the government says it will not devalue, that is taken to mean the peso will not fall the way it did a year ago." (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Editing by Peter Galloway)