March 27, 2017 / 5:42 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Argentina posts fiscal deficit of 26.7 billion pesos in February

(Adds Argentina deficit targets, details from statement, financial result)

BUENOS AIRES, March 27 (Reuters) - Argentina posted a primary fiscal deficit of 26.7 billion pesos($1.72 billion at the current exchange rate) in February, larger than the 16.6 billion peso deficit during the same month last year, the Treasury Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The primary budget balance, which measures government spending relative to income and excludes debt payments, is an indicator of Argentina’s ability to meet its financial obligations.

In January, Argentina posted a primary fiscal surplus of 3.6 billion pesos. In the statement, Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne said the 23.2 billion peso deficit for the first two months of 2017 was consistent with the target for a 58.5 billion peso deficit for the first quarter.

Last month, Dujovne presented quarterly deficit goals, including 0.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter, 2 percent in the second quarter and 3.2 percent in the third quarter. For the full year, Argentina is targeting a fiscal deficit worth 4.2 percent of GDP.

The net financial result for February, which includes interest payments on public debt, was a deficit of 30 billion pesos. ($1 = 15.5800 Argentine pesos) (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Diane Craft and Richard Chang)

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