Argentina Taps Ex-Central Banker to Craft Response to Crisis

Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa tapped veteran economist Gabriel Rubinstein as secretary of economic planning, to help craft the policy response to a currency slump and the fastest inflation in three decades, Bloomberg News reported. Rubinstein, who has long run his own consulting firm, served on the central bank’s board during the administration of late President Nestor Kirchner in 2005, among other government roles. Massa, a career politician, was sworn in earlier this month. As a widely-respected economist, Rubinstein will play a key role in Argentina’s talks with staff from the International Monetary Fund over the government’s $44 billion program. The government expects the second review of the program to conclude this month. Before joining the economic team, he had called on the government to balance its budget and boost its credibility in order to increase foreign reserves and keep “responsible” debt levels. “Under such conditions, inflation could start to stabilize at reasonable levels,” he wrote on Twitter on Aug. 1. “Otherwise, the risk of hyperinflation will keep knocking at our door.” Rubinstein fills the last major role left after Massa announced the majority of his new economic team earlier this month. He joins a cast of officials, such as debt adviser Daniel Marx and Production Secretary Jose de Mendiguren, who first held policy roles roughly 20 years ago. Read more.