Argentina

What good is it to throw a man ten feet of rope if he is drowning in 20 feet of water?” asked Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist of the IMF, in this newspaper 15 years ago. His question still bothers the institution he used to advise. Last June the fund uncoiled its biggest-ever loan: $50bn for Argentina. Four months later it added $6bn more. It hoped its generosity would rescue Argentina and salvage its reputation in a country that regards it as complicit in the economic disasters of 2001-02. But a year later, Argentina’s economy is still far from safety. Will more rope be needed?

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Argentine opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez said he won’t lead the country into default if he wins the presidential election in October, seeking to reassure investors who fear a new government might renege on its borrowings, Bloomberg News reported. “What we can guarantee is that we aren’t going to fall into a new default. I received an Argentina in default. I don’t want Argentina to fall back into that," Fernandez, 60, said in reference to his stint in Nestor Kirchner’s government at the beginning of the century when the country was emerging from a devastating debt default.

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Latin America is on the verge of suffering another lost decade. The region, still struggling to cope with the end of the commodities boom, has expanded only 0.7% a year on average during the past few years, Bloomberg News reported. That’s hardly enough to keep up with population growth, meaning that people are poorer today than they were in 2012, according to the International Monetary Fund. Now its biggest economies -- Brazil, Mexico and Argentina -- have contracted simultaneously for the second time in just over three years, causing yet another headache for policy makers.

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When the IMF completed its third review of Argentina’s economy in early April, managing director Christine Lagarde boasted that the government policies linked to the country’s record $56bn bailout from the fund were “bearing fruit,” the Financial Times reported.

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Hobbled by recession and one of the world’s highest inflation rates, Argentina may be lurching toward the next in a series of economic crises afflicting the country over the last 70 years, Reuters reported. Consumer prices streaked more than 54 percent higher in the 12 months through March in defiance of central bank efforts to control inflation, fueling poverty and further damaging a business climate blighted by nose-bleed high borrowing rates. The peso, which lost 50.5 percent of its value against the U.S.

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When investors dumped Argentine bonds en masse just as copies of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s autobiography Sincerely began to fly off the shelves last week, it gave new meaning to the term “bestseller,” the Financial Times reported. The asset sell-off took place as all emerging markets were suffering from the strengthening US dollar.

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Argentine assets have tumbled so far, so fast that a few stout-hearted investors say it might be time to buy, Bloomberg News reported. “Find me a high-yield sovereign country with an IMF program paying so generously,” said Jean-Dominique Butikofer, the Atlanta-based head of emerging-market fixed income at Voya Investment Management, which oversees about $205 billion. “We can agree on the growth outlook, inflation running unexpectedly out of control, the debt dynamic after currency depreciation and worrying technicals.

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Argentina’s assets took a beating Thursday amid President Mauricio Macri’s continuing struggle to tame rising prices and revive a shrinking economy, raising prospects that his left-wing predecessor could make a comeback in this year’s presidential election, The Wall Street Journal reported. The peso lost more than 5% of its value against the dollar in early trading Thursday, before regaining some ground in the afternoon.

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Investors pummeled Argentina’s debt market on Wednesday as a looming presidential election stoked concern the country is heading for its third default in less than two decades, Bloomberg News reported. Five-year credit default swaps were quoted at 1,157 basis points, a 17 percent increase in a day, according to prices compiled by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. That puts the probability of a default over that period at more than 58 percent, up from 22.7 percent just one year ago, Bloomberg data indicated.

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For months Beto Marron faced a terrible dilemma: he could pay his rent and rapidly rising utility bills, or he could put enough food on the table for his family of four. He could not afford to do both. The decision was made for him when he was kicked out of his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires late last year, forcing his family on to the streets. “This is sucking the life out of me.

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