Argentine peso halts slide, closes up more than 4pc


Argentina’s peso halted its slideThursday, closing up more than four percent following three days of sharpdeclines as President Mauricio Macri grappled with a crushing politicaldefeat, reports BSS/AFP. The rebound, which left the peso at 59.72 to the dollar, came after bothMacri and the center-left opposition candidate who trounced him in Sunday’sprimaries, Alberto Fernandez, called for calm.

The peso had slipped to 62.18 to the dollar at the close on Wednesdayhaving closed at 46.55 on Friday. Buenos Aires’ Stock Exchange rose 3.74 percent, after rebounding 10percent on Tuesday, clawing back some of Monday’s losses when it plummeted 38percent as the markets reacted to the news of Macri’s shock poll defeat.

Fernandez, now the favorite to unseat Macri in October’s presidentialelection, said his economic policy did not contemplate a debt default.

On Thursday, Fernandez said he considered an exchange rate of 60 pesos tothe dollar as “reasonable” and said it should no longer fluctuate wildly.

Macri suffered a resounding defeat in Sunday’s nationwide primaries,signaling a loss of public confidence in his IMF-backed austerity measureswith just months to go before October presidential elections.

Center-right Macri polled just 32 percent of the total votes cast comparedto Peronist candidate Fernandez’s 47 percent, leaving the center-leftcandidate as the overwhelming favorite in the race.

The results sent the currency and stock markets tumbling on Monday, withthe peso losing more than a quarter of its value over three days.

As the Buenos Aires stock exchange reeled, on Wall Street shares inArgentine companies plummeted more than 50 percent and Argentine bonds weredown 20 percent.

Macri reacted on Wednesday by announcing salary hikes and tax cuts to winback voters while calling for “dialogue” with the opposition to “convey peaceof mind in this electoral process.”

Macri later tweeted that he and Fernandez met and pledged to work togetherto ensure the economy is affected “as little as possible.”

Fernandez assured markets and voters that his election as president would“not imply the risk of default, it implies a different operating logic.”

Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2001 during the worst economic crisisin its history.

The country is currently in a recession and posted 22 percent inflationfor the first half of the year — one of the highest rates in the world.

Poverty affects 32 percent of the population.