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Argentina devalues ​​the peso by more than 50% as part of emergency economic reforms

Argentina devalues ​​the peso by more than 50% as part of emergency economic reforms

Erica Canepa/Bloomberg/Getty Images

A worker receives Argentine peso banknotes at a store in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.

New York

Argentina will devalue the peso by more than 50% as part of emergency measures to help the country’s struggling economy. Minister Luis Caputo made the announcement on Tuesday.

The striking move changes the official exchange rate to 800 pesos per dollar from 365 pesos, and comes just days into President Javier Miley’s term.

In her election campaign, Miley pledged to get rid of the peso and replace it with the dollar in order to get the economy back on track. The peso has been artificially supported for years by strict capital controls, and its value has fallen by about 52% this year against the US dollar.

Argentina’s central bank in recent years has been printing more pesos to help the country’s government avoid defaulting on its debt. This has caused prices to rise significantly.

The move represents the first of several steps to curb hyperinflation, which in October prompted Argentina’s central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate to 133%.

Caputo on Tuesday reiterated Miley’s campaign theme of “there’s no money” as he outlined other actions, including cutting new public works projects. Plans not to renew employment contracts that are less than a year old and to reduce energy and transportation subsidies.

“For a few months we will be worse off, especially with inflation,” he said.

Regarding public works, Caputo said: “There is no money to pay for works that often end up in the pockets of politicians and businessmen.”

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The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday following Caputo’s comments that it supports the new initiatives.

“International Monetary Fund staff welcome the measures announced earlier today by Argentina’s new Economy Minister, Luis Caputo. “These bold initial measures aim to significantly improve public finances in a way that protects those most vulnerable,” Julie Kozak, IMF Director of Communications, said in a press release. Weakness in society and strengthening of the foreign exchange system.

In his victory speech on Sunday, Miley provided few details about his economic plan. But the self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist” – who used a chainsaw during the election campaign to symbolize his plans to cut government spending – promised “radical” reforms.

“I want you to realize that we will begin to rebuild Argentina after more than a hundred years of decline, redrawing the ideas of freedom, and even though we will have to endure a period of difficulty, we will move forward,” Miley, the economist, told the crowd as he He was sworn in.

While Caputo did not mention any plans on Tuesday to get rid of the peso and dollarize the South American country’s economy It will require Argentina To replace all pesos held by residents and businesses into dollars and assign a dollar value to all assets and contracts.

This would effectively take the role of managing the country’s monetary policy – ​​the ability to control interest rates and print money – from the Argentine central bank to the US Federal Reserve.

a A swarm of challenges Looming over a potential attempt to dollarize Argentina is the fact that it does not have enough dollars to get rid of the peso, and the shift is unlikely to save the country’s crisis-stricken economy on its own.

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While other countries have taken this step – including Ecuador, El Salvador and Panama – none have been on the scale of Argentina.

Miley has already met with senior US officials since taking office and his economic team has worked with the International Monetary Fund to adjust the country’s foreign policy and revitalize its economy.