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  • A man shows Argentine pesos outside a bank in Buenos Aires' financial district.

    A man shows Argentine pesos outside a bank in Buenos Aires' financial district. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 December 2018

Argentine residents, already suffering from high inflation and unaltered wages, can expect rising prices for public transportation and energy in 2019.

Argentine families already struggling with 47 percent inflation and a shrinking economy which has caused job losses and an increase in poverty, brace for even higher prices in energy and transportation.

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The planned energy price increases are linked to an austerity financing deal that the government signed with the International Monetary Fund this year, which requires Argentina to end its primary fiscal deficit in 2019 in part by reducing public utility subsidies.

Argentina's Energy Secretary Javier Iguacel resigned less than 24 hours after news leaked that President Mauricio Macri’s administration plans to increase electricity prices by an average of 35 percent next year Friday, the government said in a statement.

Next year is anticipated to be politically significant for Argentina, as President Macri is set to run for re-election in October. However, the government is struggling to revive Latin America's third-largest economy while simultaneously curbing spiking prices for citizens, which have dramatically eroded the purchasing power of average Argentine households during 2018.

Argentine unions and social movements occupied the capitol streets and those of smaller cities on a continual basis this past year in protest to President Mauricio Macri’s austerity onslaught. By October the Argentine union workers had held its fifth general strike to demonstrate against the layoffs of tens of thousands of state worker, transportation and energy subsidy cuts.

Teachers and education unions have gone on strike for over 14 days since March to demonstrate against slashed funding for schools and to increase their wages that don’t keep pace with the current 40-50 percent inflation rate.

The year 2018 has become known in Argentina as the year of the "new poor" as Macri’s administration strangles the economy to feed interest on the country’s US$57 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan agreed up last June and renegotiated in September.

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