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ECONOMY | 22-04-2019 17:26

Citigroup: 'Be brave' amid volatility and buy Argentine stocks

To analysts at the financial firm, Argentina’s next government will likely support the country’s US$56-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Brace for short-term volatility and buy Argentine stocks, Citigroup says.

The market has under-priced the odds for policy continuity in the coming years, Citi analysts wrote, reiterating their overweight rating for Argentina stocks.

To the analysts, Argentina’s next government will likely support the country’s US$56-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which is the “key for equities to work.”

Argentine stocks have been no strangers to volatility as investors fret over whether President Mauricio Macri will win re-election in October amid double-digit inflation figures. The MSCI Argentina Index is down 4.3 percent this year – and that’s on top of a 52 percent rout in 2018.

But to Citi, former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is mulling a comeback, hasn’t been able to take advantage of the tough economic situation, which bodes well for equities. Various polls have her in a virtual tie with Macri’s Cambiemos coalition.

“Having a virtual tie today should be seen as a positive element when considering that we are at the worst part of the cycle, with bottoming economic activity and higher than expected inflation,” strategists led by Julio Zamora wrote in a report. “If the exchange rate stabilizes Cambiemos polling should improve, and this should be very positive for Argentine equities.”

Among Argentine stocks, Citi has BBVA Frances in its Latin America portfolio. A risk to Citi’s recommendation includes growth in voter support for Fernandez, which may lead to more peso weakness and reduce the effectiveness of the country’s monetary policy program. BBVA Frances shares have fallen 13 percent this year.

by by Carolina Millan and Vinícius Andrade, Bloomberg

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