President-elect Alberto Fernández warned yesterday that Argentina's economic crisis would not be solved overnight by a change in government.
Speaking during his first overseas visit since winning election on October 27, the Frente de Todos leader indicated he would continue with existing capital controls put in place by the Mauricio Macri administration. He said his inauguration would mark a change of government, not a change in the country's economic outlook.
"December 10 is not a magic date, in any case, that day we will know how many dollars are left in the Central Bank," said Fernández, 60. "But the truth is that this is not resolved with a change of government, it is the result of a policy that has allowed tens of billions of dollars migrate from the coffers of the Central Bank to unknown destinations."
Holding a press conference alongside President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico City, Fernández said that President Mauricio Macri and his government was responsible for the situation Argentina is experiencing, adding that the current head of state had promised a free foreign exchange market.
Macri's government initially imposed foreign-exchange currency controls on Argentine exporters and citizens on September 1, in the wake of the August 11 PASO primaries, which Fernández won by a clear margin. Limiting purchases US$10,000 a month, the move was a bid to stop the flight of Central Bank reserves. The day after the presidential election, on October 28, the government tightened controls further to US$200 a month.
Since August, the Central Bank's reserves have fallen by almost US$23 billion. They now stand at around US$43 billion.
"What Argentina lives in the terms of dollars is what Macri produced in terms of dollars," Fernandez said, pointing out that what was there was a "foreign exchange leak" in Argentina.