Macri Reiterates That Currency Controls Are on Their Way Out

  • Macri gained 51.4% of vote in Sunday's presidential election
  • Macri says he won't implement austerity measures or devalue

Opposition candidate Mauricio Macri won Argentina’s presidential election on Sunday after campaigning on a platform of change following 12 years of rule by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband.

Mauricio Macri with supporters on election night

Photographer: Axel Indik/Bloomberg

Here is how Macri has explained what that change will involve:

Currency controls

  • Macri reiterated Tuesday his plan to lift currency controls on his first full day in office. Asked by the Clarin newspaper if the controls would be removed gradually or on Dec. 11, he replied “December 11.” On Monday, he had said that Argentina would have only one exchange rate “when things get in order.”

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Central Bank

  • The president-elect says he would re-establish the central bank’s independence and would seek to remove bank President Alejandro Vanoli, whom he claims isn’t qualified for the job. “We’re going to see what the real state is of the public accounts is, what the real situation is of the central bank,” he said Monday. Macri will seek Vanoli’s removal before he assumes office on Dec. 10, Cronista reported Tuesday, citing sources within Macri’s economic team.

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  • Macri says Argentina should seek to end a conflict with holdout hedge funds from the 2001 default. Still, faced with criticism that he is selling the country out to “vulture” funds, he pledges to seek the best deal possible for Argentina. Perhaps seeking to strengthen his bargaining power, Macri said in an interview on Tuesday that while ending the standoff is important, it’s not his immediate priority.

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Energy, Transport Subsidies

  • Macri’s energy adviser Juan Jose Aranguren said that 2 million families or 16 percent of households will continue to receive virtually free electricity. With the budget deficit soaring to about 7.2 percent of gross domestic product this year, many others may face cuts. Macri said in an interview with La Nacion on Tuesday that while the energy sector needs reforming, he will remove subsidies gradually and maintain them for the poor.

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Oil Sector

  • Macri’s adviser Juan Jose Aranguren says energy independence is not a priority and would import some energy needs while global oil prices are low.

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Export Tariffs

  • Macri has said he will remove tariffs on grains including corn, wheat and sunflower seeds and says he will reduce the tax on soy by 5 percent per year. Two of his advisers told Bloomberg he may introduce a 90-day tax amnesty to encourage farmers to sell an estimated $8 billion of hoarded grains.

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  • Macri says he can reach single-digit inflation within two years. He has said his government won’t lie about official numbers and pledged to reform the statistics agency.

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  • Macri says he will revise the tax system to reflect inflation so that those who weren’t paying tax in 2007 won’t need to do so now. He said Monday he will raise the income tax threshold.
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