Argentina economy

Argentina risks 'return to its old ways'

BBC Radio 5 Live

The value of the peso fell 15% against the dollar on Monday
Getty Images
The value of the peso fell 15% against the dollar on Monday

Political turmoil in Argentina battered the country's stock markets and its currency on Monday.

Why such a reaction after conservative Argentine President Mauricio Macri lost in primary elections to centre-left rival, Alberto Fernández?

Jane Sydenham, investment director at Rathbones, says: "Argentina has defaulted on its debts more times than almost any other country.

"It has had a pretty chequered history but since 2015, the current president has been quite reform-oriented."

She says: "He managed to get a loan from the International Monetary Fund, there have been capital controls...the fact that his opposition leader has then suddenly done so well in this poll means that perhaps these reforms are going to stop and Argentina goes back to its old ways."

IMF may 'turn a blind eye' to Argentine spending

Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, has been looking at the situation in Argentina.

He says Mauricio Macri's government would probably pull out all the stops to try to shore up popular support.

This could include easing the pace of economic austerity imposed as part of Argentina's agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

"An outright loosening of the purse strings is possible. The IMF would probably turn a blind eye to this, since it is in its interest for President Macri to secure re-election," he said, but added: "We doubt that these efforts would be enough to change voter perception."

There's more here.

Argentine stocks crumble

Alberto Fernández with a microphone
Reuters

Back to Argentina, where as mentioned earlier, currency and bond prices are plunging after the unexpected defeat of Conservative Argentine President Mauricio Macri in primary elections.

There have been big drops in companies such as cement producer Loma Negra - down around 50% - and electricity distributor Pampa Energia which is off around 30%.

The stock market is 11% lower, as measured by the Merval index.

This BBC story explains that voting in the primaries is compulsory and is not restricted to party members but open to all those eligible to cast their ballot in the presidential polls. The vote was won by the president's left-wing rival, Alberto Fernández (pictured).