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Argentina Central Bank hikes interest rate to 60 percent

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina’s Central Bank has increased its benchmark interest rate to 60 percent in efforts to halt a sharp slide in the value of the peso.

The sliding value of the currency prompted Argentina to seek a financing deal earlier this year with the International Monetary Fund and President Mauricio Macri now is asking for an early release of those funds.

The peso slipped about 7 percent against the dollar Wednesday and was down another 5 percent early Thursday. It’s been trading at 35.9 to the dollar.

The Central Bank said Friday that it was hiking its benchmark interest rate in response to the current currency scenario and the risk of greater impact on local inflation. The rate was set to 45 percent earlier this month.