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Argentina extends biofuel blend rate to avoid gas import increase

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 24 - The Argentine government on Wednesday extended its 12.5% biodiesel blend rate to avoid fuel import increases, having first increased it in June from 5%.

Argentina heavily relies on imports to meet its fuel demand, costing it valuable foreign currency, which is already in low supply and which the government is trying to hold on to amid sky-high inflation in the country.

Argentina is also a major exporter of biodiesel, made using locally produced soybean oil.

"We are convinced that we must bet on biofuels, which allow us to save foreign exchange (reserves). That is why we have decided... to extend the cut," said Energy Minister Flavia Royon on Twitter.

Royon did not say how long the 12.5% blend rate would be in effect, and the ministry did not respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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