Argentina’s Bonds Sink as President Swears In New Cabinet

Argentina’s Bonds Sink as President Swears In New Cabinet

20/09 Argentina’s dollar bonds and U.S.-traded equities slid on Monday, as President Alberto Fernandez swore in new cabinet ministers and moves past a week-long political crisis.

The nation’s $10.5 billion in bonds due 2041 slipped as much as 1.4 cents to 36.8 cents on the dollar, while the unofficial peso exchange rate, known as the blue-chip swap, weakened 1.5% to 184 pesos per dollar. U.S.-traded shares also fell as much as 13%, with the local benchmark index posting the worst returns among indexes in the Americas amid a global selloff.

“We’re going to take steps that aim to respond to voters that have been affected by the pandemic,” Fernandez said at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony from the presidential palace in Buenos Aires. “We’re already working on it. I’m calling on our supporters to stand together and turn around last Sunday’s results.”

The cabinet reshuffling, announced late Friday, is part of a move to try to put an end to a political crisis that has consumed the ruling coalition following a larger-than-expected defeat in primary elections on Sept. 12. With the government weakened, the results of the vote cast uncertainty over the policy direction Fernandez will take in the last two years of his mandate, and increase the chance he will lean on populist economic measures to win votes ahead of November’s midterms, according to Bloomberg Economics.

On Friday, Fernandez announced the replacement of five ministers and his chief press adviser, after Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner publicly blamed him for not reacting fast enough to the election results. The new officials include Tucuman Governor Juan Manzur, who will replace Santiago Cafiero as cabinet chief, and Anibal Fernandez, a former cabinet chief under Kirchner, as security minister. Cafiero became foreign affairs minister.

In a presidential decree published Saturday, the government also said that $4.3 billion in Special Drawing Rights granted by the IMF last month can be used by the Central Bank to expand the issuance of pesos and finance Treasury expenses.

Other new appointments include:

Julian Dominguez as agriculture, livestock and fisheries minister
Jaime Perzyck as education minister
Daniel Filmus as science and technology minister
Juan Ross as communication and press secretary

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