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Argentina's record inflation in 1989

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Argentina had a record inflation last year of 4,923.3 percent, the highest in South America, the National Institute of Statistics reported Monday.

The rate is above that of Peru, where it was 2,775.3 percent in 1989, and Brazil, with 1,764.87 percent.

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For the month of December alone, Argentine inflation was 40.1 percent, according to the institute.

On January 1, an an anti-inflation move, the Argentine government ordered banks closed for two days and banned short-term, high-interest certificates of deposit.

Savers holding an estimated $3 billion of the CDs were issued government bonds for all amounts over $500 in a plan designed to limit the cash in the Argentine banking system.

The measure reduced the value of the U.S. dollar on the free market, which now sells at 1,600 australes, but created a cash shortage that may produce a recession.

On Dec. 28 the U.S. dollar traded at 1,950.

Trading volume on the Buenos Aires stock exchange Monday dropped an estimated 50 percent.

A banker of the French Banque Supervielle said the drop was a reflection of the shortage of australes. The shortage has also produced a drain on checking accounts and a 'rise in the number of bounced checks,' he said.

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