(Updates to add economy minister’s comment in fourth paragraph.)
Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s budget surplus excluding interest payments fell to 4.9 billion pesos ($1.1 billion) in 2011 from 25.1 billion pesos a year earlier.
In 2011, South America’s second-biggest economy had an overall deficit of 30.5 billion pesos compared with a surplus of 3 billion pesos the previous year, according to a report released by the Economy Ministry today in Buenos Aires.
Last month, Argentina had a primary budget deficit of 8.1 billion pesos and an overall deficit of 22.3 billion pesos, according to the report.
“We have kept the numbers in order even with such a complex international context,” Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino told reporters. Last month’s deficit was after a payment on warrants linked to economic growth that were issued as part of a 2005 debt restructuring, he said.
“Historically there’s a deficit in December,” Lorenzino said.
The country will continue to use central bank reserves to pay debt this year, within the limits set by the law, Lorenzino said. The government, which, according to the budget, plans to use $5.7 billion of such funds to service debt in 2012, is only allowed to draw on reserves that exceed the monetary base, according to current legislation.
Reserves fell to $46.7 billion on Jan. 23 from as high as $52 billion in January last year, according to central bank data.
--Editors: Richard Jarvie, Robert Jameson
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