BUENOS AIRES, March 10 (Reuters) - Argentina's economy was "clearly in recession" toward the end of last year with gross domestic product contracting 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter, Cabinet chief Marcos Pena said late on Wednesday in a television appearance.
"We will have the official data soon. I'm giving you a preview, but the final quarter of last year was clearly negative," Pena said during a talk show on TV station C5N.
Pena did not specify if the fourth quarter contraction was measured against the third quarter or the fourth quarter of 2014.
President Mauricio Macri won office in November on a free-markets platform. He is reversing the protectionist policies of his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez, who was in power for eight years during which she saddled the economy with sweeping trade and currency controls.
Macri has lifted those controls and cut grains export taxes as part of his effort to get the economy moving by increasing foreign investment. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein Editing by W Simon)