Steep rise in Argentine inflation expected

ARGENTINA - Prices will rise 45 percent this year in Argentina, Deputy Economy Minister Jorge Todesca said in an interview published in Pagina 12 newspaper on Sunday.

Todesca's estimate, based on an exchange rate of 2.50 pesos per dollar, is much higher than the 15 percent annual inflation forecast in the 2002 budget.

Prices will rise "around 30 percent of the increase in the dollar," Todesca said. "But it's going to happen bit by bit, it's not going to be next month. I think we are seeing a co

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