In his attempt to be the first head of state to break with the vicious circle of financial crises in Argentina (which economist Jeffrey Sachs compared this weekend to the movie Groundhog Day, President Mauricio Macri has began today a two-day-long jam-packed agenda aimed at clearing doubts about the course the national economy is going through, as well as the government’s ability to ensure the country will be able to meet its (new, revised) goals and obligations.
Macri arrived in New York on Sunday and, despite not having any official activity, told the journalists waiting for him outside the Langham Hotel that he has “the best expectations” about his trip, and indicated “we will tell everyone we will meet about the good future us Argentines have.”
Macri’s activity as head of state began this morning, with a breakfast organized by the Financial Times British newspaper to which, according to La Nación, 10 top executives from banks and investment funds attended. The President is then set to make his way to the headquarters of another financial media outlet: he will have a meeting with members of the Bloomberg group.
After leaving Bloomberg, the President will share a lunch with other representatives from banks and investment funds such as Itaú, Blackrock, OPIC, Pimco, HSBC, Starwood, Blackstone. Restoring their confidence in Argentina’s ability to meet its financial obligations is a key factor for the economy, as it has a direct impact in the government and companies’ ability to issue debt at a feasible interest rate.
The government already has the support of at least one of them: in an interview with the Financial Times, Michael Hasenstab, a prominent fund manager at Franklin Templeton assured that the crisis was already receding and blamed it on a “massive speculative attack,” as well as the ever-present fear Argentines have about the country descending into financial and political turmoil in every crisis.
Hasenstab praised the “orthodox policies” the government implemented since the beginning of the crisis and assured that “we are already seeing a pretty powerful snapback.” He was making reference to the fact that the peso appreciated by roughly six percent in the past week; the country risk went back to being below 600 points after almost hitting 800 in August; and the Merval stock market bounced by over 37 percent, according to FT figures.
“Speculative attacks in August, when no one is around, can quickly get legs. And they were vulnerable because it takes time to rebuild confidence domestically,” Hasenstab added. The government will seek to cement this mindset this week by reaching a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Although all details have not surfaced yet, there is strong speculation about the possibility that the government will lock down an extra US $20 billion, taking the total sum of the stand-by agreement to a historic and whopping US $70 billion. It has not been confirmed whether Macri will meet with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde during the trip.
Macri will begin his afternoon by participating in an event co-hosted by the Council of the Americas and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). He will then have a work meeting with his team. At 7 PM, he will make his way to the White House in Washington to attend a reception for all heads of state who will attend the United Nation’s General Assembly the next day. His day, however, will not end there, as two hours later he is set to receive the Global Citizen Award for this “tireless and uncompromising dedication to his country.”
Read more: Macri Honored With 2018 Global Citizen Award
On Tuesday at 8 AM, Macri will be present in the opening of the 73rd UN General Assembly, but since he will only deliver his speech between 4 and 5:30 PM that day, he will participate in other activities in the meantime: he will attend a meeting of Mercosur trading bloc heads of state, as well as a lunch offered by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The President will end his trip with a meeting with investors and later statements to press.
Things will also be hectic in Argentina tomorrow, as the largest unions in the country will conduct the fourth general strike during the Macri administration, paralyzing the country to show their discontent with the government’s policies and the economic situation in general.