BUENOS AIRES, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Argentina will likely end the year with a fiscal deficit of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product, Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said on Wednesday, rejecting estimates by the opposition for a deficit around twice as high.
"The opposition justifies the alleged need for austerity with lies because the truth is that the deficit is not as they say 7.2 percent, nor 6 percent," he told Argentine radio broadcaster Nacional Rock.
"We will have to see how the year ends but it will be 3.5 percent of GDP."
Private analysts often question the credibility of Argentina's official statistics. Many say heavy government spending by outgoing President Cristina Fernandez is driving an expansion in the deficit that has been masked by government figures.
Goldman Sachs, for example, has said the deficit will reach 7.1 percent this year and says fiscal consolidation should "be given urgent consideration" as it is partly to blame for soaring inflation and exchange rate pressures. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by David Gregorio)