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Mac Margolis

Argentina’s Macri Scores Economic Own Goal

In his effort to halt the peso’s slide, the country’s president seems more desperate than decisive.

Ouch!

Ouch!

Photographer: Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images

From debt vultures and cooked books to fiscal time bombs, Argentine President Mauricio Macri inherited quite the mess. In his three years of office, he’s handled most of these challenges remarkably well, drawing cheers from investors and his compatriots. Here was a decisive, business-friendly manager, talking transparency and free-market initiatives to end what might have been “the largest populist experiment” in the world, in the words of Oxford Economics analyst Guillermo Tolosa.

Now the much awaited Argentine return looks imperiled. This week, with the battered peso swooning again, the public deficit agape and discontent sizzling on the streets, Macri seemed more desperate than decisive. In an unscheduled appearance Wednesday, he took to YouTube to air a plan to take a large advance on the country’s $50 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund, already the fund’s largest bailout on record.