New Minister of Finance for a crucial week in Argentina


Defeated in the primaries and without the possibility of being reelected, the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, replaced his worn-out minister of finance to face a stage that is emerging as a turbulent transition until December, when his term ends. The new holder of the portfolio, Hernán Lacunza, will have to deal with inflation that could triple in a month, after the sudden post-election devaluation. You will have to ensure that the IMF does not stop the disbursement of the mega loan agreed by its predecessor. And, before all that, you will have to face the reopening of the financial markets tomorrow. According to Macri "he is the right person for this new stage."

After a week of rumors about his resignation, on Saturday he met the resignation of Finance Minister Nicolás Dujovne. The official had asked Macri to relieve him of the post after the thunderous defeat of the ruling party in the primary of August 11, when the opponent Alberto Fernández won with 47% of the votes, compared to 32% achieved by Macri. The day after the elections, the currency was devalued and stocks and bonds collapsed. Although in the middle of the week the market gave a truce, the transfer of the devaluation to prices has already begun and will be between 5 and 30%.

Macri did not accept Dujovne's resignation immediately, not so much by the will to retain him as guarantor of the agreement with the IMF for a loan of 57,000 million dollars, but because he could not find a successor to the hottest portfolio of a government that has Run out of time. With populist measures to alleviate the price increase, Macri broke Dujovne's goal of achieving a strong deficit reduction. But, in addition, with the exchange crisis this week, the Government will not be able to fulfill the commitment to reduce inflation either.

Mediocre performance

Finally, the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Maria Eugenia Vidal – the once unbeatable candidate of the ruling party, who lost to the former Minister of Economy of the opposition, Axel Kicillof – transferred to Lacunza, his finance minister in the most populous province of the country .

Lacunza had to leave the province's accounts in order to go to the national portfolio. His performance with Vidal was mediocre. Like the nation, the province made a strong adjustment in spending, foreign currency debt increased during its management and private activity faces a severe recession with company closures and high unemployment.

Tomorrow, the new minister will have to face the opening of the markets. On the same day a debt of 3,000 million dollars with US banks expires. In September, 9,000 million dollars are due. You must first receive the IMF delegation that will attend this week to analyze the progress of compliance with the agreement and resolve the outstanding disbursement of $ 5.6 billion. The date of the visit is as airborne as the commitments that Argentina should have fulfilled at this point.

Macri is confident that he still has the potential to bridge the gap with Fernández in the October generals. For the miracle to take place, it is necessary at least that the transition takes place in calm. A job entrusted to Lacunza.

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