BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez said on Thursday the country had “no possibility” of default if he were elected in October.
FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez speaks during the primary elections, at a cultural centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 11, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo
“No one wants default as an exit,” Fernandez said at a seminar hosted by local newspaper Clarin.
Fernandez, who is expected to win Argentina’s Oct. 27 presidential election after his resounding lead over President Maurcio Macri in the Aug. 11 primary vote, also said Argentina would need to negotiate with its creditors on how to comply with its obligations.
On Wednesday, two of his economic advisors met with the country’s new treasury minister, Hernan Lacunza, and told him Fernandez would seek an “alternative economic model” to the current administration’s policies.
Center-left Peronist Fernandez has been critical of last year’s massive $57-billion standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the austerity measures that were imposed in its wake. He has pledged to “rework” it if elected.
Fernandez denied he was against the historic trade pact agreed between the Mercosur bloc and the European Union in June, but said there were a “series of points” that needed analysis.
“I will analyze them in a way that guarantees that no agreement we sign with the EU or with any other market will end up affecting our production,” Fernandez said.
Argentina’s peso was little changed at the open on Thursday at 55.05 per U.S. dollar, traders said, after weakening by nearly 18% last week during market turmoil over fears of a return to the former interventionist economic policies of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Fernandez’s vice presidential candidate.
The peso closed 0.53% weaker at 55.03 to the U.S. dollar on Wednesday while bond prices rose slightly and the local Merval stock index closed with a gain of 2.6%, suggesting recent market jitters had begun to calm.
But after the markets closed on Wednesday, debt ratings agency Fitch said the peso’s recent depreciation “suggests a real risk of default” and “raises the potential for a sharper deterioration in economic growth.
Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio