Friday, August 7, 2020
Perfil

ECONOMY | 30-08-2018 14:59

Skyrocketing dollar sends Macri gov't into crisis mode

The Central Bank on Thursday hiked its benchmark interest rate from 45 percent to 60 percent – the world's highest – in an effort to halt a sharp slide in the value of the peso against the dollar.

Argentines watched the US dollar plummet past the 40-peso mark on Thursday.

The currency collapse has sent the Mauricio Macri into crisis mode, with a number of high-profile coalition members hitting the airwaves Thursday to ease concerns about the country's near-term economic future.

The president himself is laying low. He appeared at a private business forum, where he left much of the official discourse to his Production Minister Dante Sica.

PEÑA: NO ECONOMIC FAILURE HERE

"We are not looking at an economic failure", Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña told Radio Mitre, blaming "a diverse range of internal and external factors which have made confidence in Argentina take one step backward", including the so-called "notebooks" corruption scandal involving the country's construction sector.

"We are facing each and every one of the issues with realism, in a context of a parliamentary minority and with the conviction that we will not change the rules of the game", he said.

Peña said that a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to advance the payment of the next installment of a US$50-billion stand-by loan deal "was not sealed". He said Macri's statements on Wednesday were aimed at "avoiding further problems with the markets".

Economist José Luis Espert said on Twitter that "the President's word has been devalued with a statement that meant absolutely nothing. A grave political error on the part of the government".

VIDAL: IT'S GOING TO GET WORSE

The Central Bank on Thursday hiked its benchmark interest rate from 45 percent to 60 percent – the world's highest – in an effort to halt a sharp slide in the value of the peso against the dollar.

Buenos Aires province Governor María Eugenía Vidal also took to the airwaves to ease concerns about the crisis. She contradicted Peña, saying: "We are currently facing difficulties, and not recognising this would deny and invalidate what every-day Argentines are currently experiencing".

"I do not buy dollars", Vidal told journalist Luis Novarersio in a primetime interview on the A24 network.

"When one sees the dollar, one worries. We have had some difficult months but we also know that the following months are going to be even harder", she warned, while expressing optimism that Argentina was "starting to see signs that there will be jobs".

She defended the national government, rejecting "the two things I have heard since Mauricio Macri came to power": that he "governs for rich and that he was going to end social-welfare programmes in Argentina".

SICA: WE'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK

For Macri's Production Minister Dante Sica, "the lag in the value of the currency (peso) is over".

"Structural changes take time", he insisted, speaking at a Consejo de Américas meeting on Thursday. 

"With the reduction in the fiscal deficit and the emission of debt to finance it, inflation will start genuinely declining", he added. "Not only for this reason but because we have managed to correct relative prices. We will now neither have to correct public services prices nor currency".

-TIMES/PERFIL

In this news

More in (in spanish)

Comments