Argentina’s President Names Third Economy Minister in Less Than a Month

Argentine President Alberto Fernández, grappling with a political crisis within his ruling coalition, on Thursday fired the economy minister he appointed three weeks ago and replaced her with an influential lawmaker and ally as he faces economic turmoil, WSJ Pro Bankruptcy reported. Sergio Massa, currently president of the lower-house of Congress, will take over as economy minister, the president’s office said in a statement. The president also gave Mr. Massa control of agriculture and production policies, creating what Argentine analysts are calling a super ministry where all economic matters are decided, the statement said. Mr. Massa, 50 years old, replaces Silvina Batakis, a little-known economist who was in Washington, D.C., on Monday meeting with the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, to discuss efforts to tackle surging inflation by curbing public spending. Ms. Batakis returned to Argentina on Friday after telling reporters in Washington that she had full political support within the government’s fractured coalition to implement politically unpopular economic policies. Ms. Georgieva had said via her Twitter account that it had been a productive meeting and welcomed Ms. Batakis’s efforts to “strengthen fiscal sustainability.” Argentina recently refinanced a $44 billion bailout with the IMF in a deal aimed at averting a financial crisis by reducing public spending and printing money. But Argentina keeps printing money, with economists saying the country faces a sharp devaluation and accelerating inflation, now at 65%. Read more. (Subscription required.)