February 20, 2019 / 9:31 PM / in 3 months

UPDATE 1-Argentina posts January primary fiscal surplus of 16.7 bln pesos

(Adds Treasury comment, comparative figure from 2018)

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Argentina posted a primary fiscal surplus of 16.658 billion pesos ($446 million) in January, the treasury said on Wednesday, as the country looks to recover from economic turmoil and a recession last year.

The South American country agreed to rein in its debts as part of a $56.3 billion deal struck with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year with the aim of bringing the primary fiscal deficit to zero this year.

“The surplus in January marks an important step towards meeting the targets set for the first quarter as per the current stand-by agreement with the IMF,” the Ministry of Treasury said in a statement.

The January surplus was up over 300 percent versus a 3.9 billion peso surplus in January 2018, the ministry said.

Argentina registered a primary fiscal deficit of 338.987 billion pesos last year, equivalent to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Maximilian Heath; Writing by Adam Jourdan Editing by James Dalgleish and Susan Thomas)

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