Photographer: Diego Giudice/Bloomberg

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Argentine Peso Falls to Record for Second Day After IMF Accord

  • Currency posts biggest slide among emerging market peers
  • Government, IMF agreed to $50 billion credit line Thursday

The Argentine peso extended losses Monday, sharply selling off as the trading day came to a close, to lead declines among emerging market currencies battered by a flight to safety.

The currency fell 2.7 percent to 26.00 per dollar in Buenos Aires from 25.31 per dollar Friday. It was the second straight day of losses for the peso since Argentina’s government announced that it will receive a $50 billion credit line from the International Monetary Fund, the largest deal in the Fund’s history.

Argentina’s central bank stopped defending the peso Friday, allowing it to surpass 25 per dollar. After weeks of volatility, it had been defending the peso since May 14 by offering to sell $5 billion at 25 pesos to the dollar. The trade was never executed but kept the currency below that threshold. Now the peso is weakening, despite the wide appraisal by economists and analysts about the robust IMF agreement that’s meant to damp investors’ concern about Argentina’s deficits and debt load.

Emerging market currencies, from Mexico to South Africa to Turkey, weakened Monday. Economists say the lack of central bank intervention, broad pressure on the asset class and longstanding concern about Argentina’s fiscal deficit pushed the peso down.

Read more: Argentina Wins $50 Billion in IMF Backing to Bolster Economy

"What happened was a combination of the weakness of emerging market currencies and the macroeconomic vulnerabilities that Argentina has," says Miguel Zielonka, associate director at EconViews, a research group in Buenos Aires. "Argentina is in the weakest position compared to other emerging markets."

At the same time, some investors say the IMF agreement itself is having the opposite effect on the peso, stirring concerns about why Argentina needed so much aid.

"I think that the super-sized IMF package is not settling to markets," says David Tawil, president of Maglan Capital which invests in Argentine debt.

Tawil adds that the package raises questions, such as "Why is so much necessary? Can Argentina comply with the conditions on the loan? Will compliance with the IMF cost the economy more than its gaining from the line of credit?"

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