Saturday, April 4, 2020

ECONOMY | 29-06-2018 13:35

Peso slides to 29.60 against the US dollar

The peso continued to slide against the dollar this morning, rising at least 70 cents to trade at between 29 and 29.50 pesos to the greenback.

The peso continued to slide against the dollar this morning, rising 70 cents to trade at between 29 and 29.60 pesos to the greenback on the screens of Banco Nación.

After a week of relative stability, following record lows earlier in the month, the national currency has resumed its slide against the US dollar in recent days. On Thursday, as the peso fell, the Central Bank said it would sell US$150 million that day and the same amount on Friday. Closing yesterday, the peso closed down 2.4 percent at 28.12 per US dollar.

The peso already plunged to a record low against the dollar earlier this month, and since the start of the year the currency has dropped more than 30 percent against the greenback.

Following a currency crisis in April and May, President Mauricio Macri turned to the International Monetary Fund for assistance, a politically charged decision that much of the opposition decried. Argentina has a bitter history with the IMF, which many Argentines view as having imposed tough conditions that worsened economic pain 17 years ago during the 2001-2002 crisis.

In early June, the IMF announced confirmation of a US$50-billion standby loan to help bolster market confidence. Last Friday, the government received a first tranche of US$15 billion to help stabilise its economy, though to date the impact of the financing seems to have been minimal.


In the markets, things have also been challenging, with the benchmark Merval index at midday Friday 2.47 percent down on the previous day's trading. 

That was a fall on the previous day, when  the stock exchange had closed 3.35 percent up, a technical rebound a day after one of the worst falls in history on Wednesday.

On that day, the Merval had plunged 8.8 percent fell to 25,965 points after four days of consecutive losses, it's worst closing performance for years, amid nervousness over emerging markets coupled with alleged tensions over the IMF loan. 

"It's evident that there is less appetite for emerging markets in a more challenging global financial climate. But in Argentina's case, you have to add the harsh economic realities of the IMF as well as its political implications," analyst Gustavo Ber told the La Nación daily.

The Buenos Aires Stock Exchange has shown successive closing losses of 6.0 percent, 2.13 percent and 4.47 percent since last week. 

The losses wiped away gains when stocks surged briefly last week on news that index provider MSCI upgraded Argentina to its emerging markets. 

"International investors are hoping that in addition to achieving rate stability, there are indications locally of progress towards lowering the deficit, reducing inflation and cutting interest rates," Pablo Castagna told the Ámbito Financiero newspaper.

Press reports this week have fuelled rumors that the Macri administration is planning to introduce a tax on shares as it seeks to trim the deficit and halt inflation.


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