Argentina's New President Javier Milei Sets Bold Economic Agenda: 'There Is A Light At The End Of The Tunnel'

Benzinga ·  Dec 12, 2023 01:12

Javier Milei was sworn in as Argentina's new president on Sunday, with a promise of radical change for the nation's troubled economic landscape.

With inflation soaring more than 140%, and amidst a backdrop of relentless economic and political turmoil, Milei's inaugural address was nothing short of disruptive, signaling a deep rupture with the immediate and historical precedents.

Acknowledging the hyperinflationary crisis he inherited, Milei painted a grim picture, projecting potential inflation rates reaching a staggering 15,000%, as local news outlet La Nacion revealed.

Despite enduring 12 years of stagflation, the ultra-libertarian president offered a glimmer of hope, assuring the public the catastrophe would only persist for a few more months due to his stringent fiscal policies.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," he enthused, emphasizing that this time the focus would be on cutting government spending rather than increasing revenues.

Manuel Adorni, the presidential spokesperson, revealed new Finance Minister Luis Andrés Caputo would soon announce economic measures, including a significant reduction in fiscal spending. Moreover, Milei has urgently ordered the removal of privileges, indicating a commitment to tightening the nation's belt.

"I prefer to tell you an uncomfortable truth rather than a comfortable lie," Milei boldly declared in his first speech.

President Milei swiftly unveiled his cabinet on social media, declaring, "¡Hay equipo!" (We have a team) and championing "Long live to freedom."


— Javier Milei (@JMilei) December 11, 2023

What Lies Ahead For Argentine Stocks?

The strong presence of U.S. officials at Milei's inauguration, including key members of President Joe Biden's economic team, suggests a willingness from Washington to forge a positive relationship with the Argentine president, despite Milei's well-known affinity for Donald Trump.

Built upon improved Buenos Aires-Washington relations and rising hopes on Argentina's increased economic openness, Argentine stocks, as tracked by the Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (NYSE:ARGT), have surged by 20% since Milei's victory in the presidential election runoff on Nov. 18, firmly entering bull market territory.

Among the standout performers are Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora Norte Sociedad Anónima (NYSE:EDN), YPF Sociedad Anónima (NYSE:YPF) and Telecom Argentina S.A. (NYSE:TEO) boasting impressive gains of 67%, 65%, and 51%, respectively. Banks also demonstrated remarkable strength, with Banco Macro (BMA) and Grupo Financiero Galicia S.A. (GGAL) posting gains of approximately 40%.

Global X MSCI Argentina ETF's largest holding, MercadoLibre Inc (NASDAQ:MELI), which accounted for 22% of the fund, also surged by 17% since Milei's election victory, further illustrating the market's optimism about the new administration's economic policies.

Chart: Argentine Stocks Rallied 20% Since Milei's Election Victory

Read Now: November CPI Data Takes Center Stage Ahead of Fed Meeting: Will Disinflation Excitement Persist?

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