Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, left, talks to new Argentina's Treasury Minister Hernan Lacunza at the government house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. Lacunza replaced Nicolas Dujove after the minister resigned. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

New Argentina treasury minister guarantees peso stability

August 20, 2019 - 11:02 am

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina will guarantee the stability of the peso after the local currency's recent crash and the government will meet its commitments with the International Monetary Fund, the country's new treasury minister said Tuesday.

"This is a complex situation," Hernán Lacunza told reporters moments after being sworn in as treasury minister by President Mauricio Macri.

Lacunza said his main priority will be to stabilize the peso. He also assured that Argentina would keep 2019 fiscal targets that it set out as a condition to get a record loan of more than $56 billion from the IMF to try to curb the country's economic crisis.

Conservative Macri recently lost in a primary election by a wide margin against center-left Alberto Fernández.

Macri's loss, and fears of a potential return to interventionist policies by a leftist administration, hit markets, crashed the peso currency and sent stocks and bonds tumbling. Lacunza replaces Nicolas Dujovne, who brokered the IMF deal and who announced his resignation over the weekend.

"What matters now is that the starting point for (the next government) has a robust platform to be able to recover growth," said Lacunza, a former economy minister for Buenos Aires province.

After the defeat in the primary elections, Macri's administration announced a string of spending measures. They included: a temporary hike of the minimum wage, reducing payroll taxes and implementing other steps to help workers as Argentina struggles to overcome galloping inflation, high unemployment and other economic woes.

Macri acted after the leftist presidential ticket that includes his predecessor, Cristina Fernández running as vice president, turned in a powerful showing in primary voting for candidates going into the October general elections.

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