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ECONOMY | 04-06-2019 12:58

Alberto Fernández tells markets he won't lead Argentina into default

Seeking to reassure investors, presidential hopeful tells reporters he won’t lead the country into default if he wins the presidential election in October.

Presidential hopeful Alberto Fernández said he won’t lead the country into default if he wins the presidential election in October, seeking to reassure investors who fear a new government might renege on its borrowings.

“What we can guarantee is that we aren’t going to fall into a new default. I received an Argentina in default. I don’t want Argentina to fall back into that," Fernández, 60, said in reference to his stint in Néstor Kirchner’s government that began in 2003, when the country was emerging from a devastating debt default.

Fernandez and his running mate, former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, are trying to broaden support among independents and their Peronist movement ahead of key August primary elections that will decide who will stand as candidates in the October 27 national election.

The mere possibility of the populist Fernández de Kirchner returning to power roiled markets in April. Business-friendly President Mauricio Macri is the favourite of investors, though since taking office in late 2015 he has presided over two recessions, soaring inflation and a collapse in the currency that forced him to seek an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout last year.

Fernández said Friday that he will pull his country out of its latest crisis by falling back on his experience in turning around Argentina in the wake of the 2002 default and banking crisis.

“I’ve already lived this before and I know how to get out of this,” he told reporters in Montevideo.

Fernandez met with Uruguayan political leaders including former President José 'Pepe' Mujica and Mercosur legislators during a one-day visit to Uruguay’s capital last week.

- TIMES/BLOOMBERG

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