Argentina's Macri to increase subsidies for poor families

Argentina's Macri to increase subsidies for poor families
FILE PHOTO: Argentina's President Mauricio Macri speaks during a meeting with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, Brazil, January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino -
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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine President Mauricio Macri said on Friday he will increase subsidies for poor families with children by 46 percent, as the centre-right leader prepares to run for a second term in October.

In his annual State of the Union address to Congress, Macri vowed to continue his programme of investment-friendly reforms despite being jeered by opposition lawmakers who favour a bigger government role in Latin America's third largest economy.

Macri, who was elected in late 2015, has struggled with high inflation and a shrinking economy as he tries to reduce the country's fiscal deficit under a $56 billion (£42 billion) standby financing agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

He nonetheless said there was room for targeted increases in welfare spending. "Unfortunately, children are the hardest hit by poverty. This is why we have decided to increase by 46 percent per-child subsidies for the poor, starting this month," he said during his address to lawmakers.

(Reporting by Cassandra Garisson and Gabriel Burin; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)

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