Monday, 19 November, 2018

Argentina's currency plunges to new low, despite International Monetary Fund aid

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri Argentina's President Mauricio Macri Credit MARCOS BRINDICCI Reuters
Rhonda Young | 31 August, 2018, 18:27

The peso finished at a record closing low of 39.25 per USA dollar.

"Over the last week we have seen new expressions of lack of confidence in the markets, specifically over our financing capacity in 2019", Mr Macri said.

Latin America's third biggest economy is expected to shrink this year, weighed down by inflation running at 31 percent, while already-scare credit gets choked off by increasingly onerous borrowing costs.

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"This comes after Argentina's government unexpectedly asked for the early release of a $50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday", writes CNBC.

Argentina was forced to strike a deal with the International Monetary Fund earlier this year after a sharp depreciation of its currency and a run on the peso.

After the market close, Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne pledged to announce a set of new economic measures on Monday, and will target a fiscal deficit for 2019 that is lower than the current target of 1.3 percent of gross domestic product in order to reduce the government's need to go to debt markets. He cut red tape and tried to reduce the government's budget deficit by ordering layoffs and cutting utility subsidies, but it triggered labour unrest.

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However, the move was not effective in bringing calm to the markets and the peso did not recover at the end of Wednesday's trading day.

The selloff in the Argentine peso continued Thursday, sending the currency to a record low against the USA dollar after the government of President Mauricio Macri asked the International Monetary Fund to speed up disbursements on a $50 billion bailout package. The measure did briefly stall the peso's tumble, but the currency still closed at a historic low.

Earlier Marcos Pena, President Mauricio Macri's cabinet chief, was forced to deny the government was facing an economic disaster.

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"This is a transformation, not failure". He defended the economic policies that Macri had imposed since 2015, saying it was a path "of fiscal balance, development and growth". Banks froze their deposits, causing many to lose all of their savings and unleashing chaos in the streets. Dozens died in protests and looting in December 2001 as the economy unraveled and Argentina eventually suffered a record $100 billion debt default. The crisis left one out of every five Argentines unemployed and plunged millions of people into poverty.

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