Argentina: Macri yet to score on economic reform

A picture of people watching information on a currency exchange board in the Argentine capital’s financial district
May 15, 2018: Watching from the sidewalk in Buenos Aires as the Argentine peso sinks to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar (source: dpa)
  • Argentina’s gradual economic reform takes longer to produce results than its government can afford to wait
  • Hosting a G20 meeting in late 2018 was supposed to give Argentina a showcase for its global ambitions
  • Instead, an abrupt weakening of the peso spells new economic and political trouble

When Mauricio Macri became president of Argentina in January 2016, he promised to “return Argentina to the world” and remove the distortions crippling its economy. The president meant to restore Argentina as an effective member of the international community and make it a global player in the positive sense, to exercise its agency – the very opposite of what his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, had brought about.

This was a necessary prelude to Mr. Macri’s primary goal of putting the nation’s economy back on track. The new leader got off to a promising start when his team resolved outstanding disputes with bondholders who had claims against the Argentine government following its default in 2001. The settlements with these creditors opened the door for Argentina’s return to the international financial markets. The government also ended currency exchange controls and reopened the national statistics office, which Ms. Kirchner had shut down in 2014 to avoid publishing embarrassing consumer price data.

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