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ECONOMY | 27-07-2022 15:55

Argentina Economy Minister says she has strong political support

New Economy Minister for Argentina Silvina Batakis tells Washington reporters she will stabilise economy, claiming strong political support from the government.

Argentina’s Economy Minister Silvina Batakis said she sees strong political support from “all sectors” of the ruling coalition, which will allow her to implement policies needed to stabilise the economy. 

The minister said she has the necessary backing in Buenos Aires to boost growth, following two days of meetings with private and institutional investors in Washington, D.C. Batakis has been in office since July 4 after her predecessor Martín Guzmán resigned over lack of support from within the government.

“Within the coalition, there’s an equilibrium that allows us to implement the measures needed to calm down the economy,” Batakis told reporters at the Argentine embassy in Washington. “In that sense, there’s strong support from all sectors of our political space.”  

It’s the first time Batakis commented on her political support. Guzmán lost favour with Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her far-left wing within the ruling coalition, which obstructed his ability to move forward with unpopular spending cuts needed to comply with a US$44 billion program with the International Monetary Fund. Kirchner, who was president from 2007 to 2015, hasn’t commented on Batakis or the economy’s plight over the past few weeks. 


Calming down 

Since Batakis’ appointment, the country’s parallel peso rate – an indicator of confidence given that the official exchange rate is managed through controls – has weakened 27%. Batakis said Tuesday that the peso is just starting to stabilise after weeks of volatility, attributing the recent currency slump to the jitters that followed the 30 hours without an economy minister between Guzmán’s resignation and her appointment to the post. 

She added that markets are calming down “as they get to know me.” 

Javier Timerman, a partner at Adcap Securities who participated in a meeting between Batakis and investors held earlier Tuesday, said in a statement that the minister had noted her aim to rebuild the country’s rapport with investors and that she was “open to listening to the opinion of fund managers.”

Argentina’s benchmark bonds due in 2030 edged up 0.3 cents to 19.4 cents on the dollar after the Tuesday meetings.

Batakis’ comments capped her first trip as head of the economy, in which she met with staff from the IMF, the World Bank and US Treasury Department. 

“We discussed how we’re going to comply with the targets and when the reviews will be,” she told reporters, referring to the talks with IMF officials. “It was very important to establish a timeline of meetings to continue working.” 

by Bloomberg / Maria Paula Mijares Torres & Patrick Gillespie

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