Argentina: Massa becomes third economy minister

Tough economical challenges ahead.

In late July, economist Silvina Batakis was let go less than a month after being chosen by Fernández to fill the spot suddenly vacated by Martín Guzmán, the architect of the debt refinancing deal who had served in the role since December 2019.

In his speech, Massa pledged to tackle the “two-sided Argentina” where there is some economic growth and employment, but “a huge lack of confidence in the currency, spending disorder, public investment gaps and a huge injustice in income distribution.”

One of Massa’s toughest challenges will be to increase Argentina’s available international reserves, which analysts say are at critical levels.

On that front, Massa announced Wednesday an agreement with exporters to advance sales and bring some US$5 billion into the Central Bank within 60 days.

For Victor Beker, director of the Centre for the Study of the New Economy at the University of Belgrano, the announcements made Wednesday “are important, they go in the right direction, but they fell short of expectations.”

“We are still far from having a comprehensive economic plan, far from having answers on how inflation is going to be fought, nor how the exchange market is going to work,” Beker told AFP.

A problem he will not be able to solve, though, is the ongoing power struggle inside the ruling Frente de Todos political coalition between Fernández and Vice President Cristina Kirchner, herself a former president.