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ECONOMY | 22-08-2022 10:14

Argentina taps ex-central banker to craft response to crisis

Sergio Massa taps Gabriel Rubinstein as secretary of economic planning. Veteran economic will help craft the policy response to currency slump and runaway inflation.

Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa tapped veteran economist Gabriel Rubinstein as secretary of economic planning, to help craft the policy response to a currency slump and the fastest inflation in three decades.  

Rubinstein, who has long run his own consulting firm, served on the Central Bank’s board during the administration of late president Néstor Kirchner in 2005, among other government roles. Massa, a career politician, was sworn in earlier this month. 

As a widely-respected economist, Rubinstein will play a key role in Argentina’s talks with staff from the International Monetary Fund over the government’s US$44-billion programme. The government expects the second review of the programme to conclude this month.

Before joining the economic team, he had called on the government to balance its budget and boost its credibility in order to increase foreign reserves and keep “responsible” debt levels. 

“Under such conditions, inflation could start to stabilise at reasonable levels,” he wrote on Twitter on August 1. “Otherwise, the risk of hyperinflation will keep knocking at our door.”

Rubinstein fills the last major role left after Massa announced the majority of his new economic team earlier this month. He joins a cast of officials, such as debt adviser Daniel Marx and Production Secretary José de Mendiguren, who first held policy roles roughly 20 years ago. 

Argentina’s annual inflation surged past 70 percent last month after renewed political turmoil fueled price spikes and a currency rout.

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by Patrick Gillespie & Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg

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