April 4, 2018 / 9:44 PM / 21 days ago

Economists hike Argentina 2018 inflation forecasts, slash growth

BUENOS AIRES, April 4 (Reuters) - Economists raised expectations for inflation in Argentina while slashing growth forecasts in a monthly central bank poll released on Wednesday, in the latest sign of a deteriorating market outlook for the South American country’s performance.

The poll of 53 participants found median 2018 inflation expectations of 20.3 percent, up from 19.9 percent last month and above the government target of 15 percent. Inflation expectations have jumped since the government late last year loosened its 2018 target from the prior 8-12 percent range.

The economists’ lowered their median growth forecast for 2018 to 2.5 percent from 2.7 percent previously, the third straight month activity expectations have declined. A severe drought is expected to reduce soybean and corn output in Argentina, where agriculture forms the backbone of the economy.

The government expects the economy to grow 3 percent in 2017.

Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Sandra Maler

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