Who is Argentina’s new president? Stock Market Rallies With New Conservative Direction
Argentina’s Presidential Election Results: A Boost for Markets!
In a significant political shift, Argentina’s recent presidential election saw the victory of far-right libertarian Javier Milei, leading to a surge in the nation’s bonds and equities. However, this win has simultaneously exerted downward pressure on the peso currency, presenting a complex scenario for investors and the economy.
Milei’s Victory and Market Response
Javier Milei’s triumph over Peronist economy chief Sergio Massa in the presidential election has sent ripples through Argentina’s financial markets. Despite markets being closed for a local holiday following the election, Argentine overseas dollar bonds showed a notable rally, climbing over 2 cents to just above 30 cents on the dollar. This positive reaction in the bond market reflects investor optimism about Milei’s economic policies.
Impact on U.S.-Listed Argentine Shares?
U.S.-listed shares of Argentine companies witnessed a significant upswing in response to the election outcome. Major companies such as oil giant YPF saw their stocks rise by 18.4%, while banks like Grupo Supervielle, Banco Macro, Banco Bbva Argentina, and Grupo Financiero Galicia experienced gains ranging from 8.6% to 11.4%. Additionally, the Global X MSCI Argentina ETF surged by 12.2%, although trading volumes were low.
One of our favorite Emerging Markets minds, Portfolio Manager & Global X ETFs Head of Emerging Markets Strategy Malcolm Dorson told us:
“The Milei victory, though potentially controversial, gives Argentina the best chance for survival and ultimate success. With various sovereign defaults since the mid-20th century, it’s clear that Perronism did not work. As we learned from the Macri administration, the country needs change, but it needs to come in a swift manner. If Milei can pull the band-aide off and allow the Peso to float, it will hurt the currency and inflation, but it will be a first step towards building confidence from international markets.
We will need to see quick steps towards economic and fiscal orthodoxy to follow. This means, higher interest rates, cost cuts, selling off non-core assets, privatizing state-owned enterprises, and unlocking inefficiencies of Argentina’s vast supply of natural resources. We think a rebound in the soy crop (there was a drought this year) will also help attract dollars. It’s an uncertain time in Argentina, but this is a situation where the country desperately needs a change in economic policies. Our Argentina fund, ARGT, is up 13% pre market.”
Investor Sentiments and Milei’s Policy Directions
Investors are cautiously optimistic, balancing their immediate positive outlook with concerns about lingering uncertainties. Milei, known for his radical approach, including plans to significantly cut public spending and overhaul the central bank, did not mention his earlier proposal to dollarize the economy in his initial speech. This has raised questions about the pace and extent of his policy implementation.
Diego W. Pereira of JPMorgan, in a note to clients, maintained a “market weight” stance on Argentina’s international bonds, acknowledging the constructive short-term outcome but also noting the challenges ahead. Similarly, Sergio Armella of Goldman Sachs emphasized the need for rapid reforms to address the deep-seated economic issues plaguing Argentina, including soaring inflation, dwindling foreign currency reserves, and the looming recession.
The Peso’s Struggle and Forex Adjustments
On the flip side, the peso currency weakened on cryptocurrency exchanges, a proxy for the black market. The election results triggered a rise in the price of tether (a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency) against the peso, reflecting investor concerns about the currency’s stability. Experts from Morgan Stanley predict significant devaluations of the peso, expecting an adjustment of at least 80% in the official forex rate.
Milei’s Road Ahead
Milei, a political newcomer with a background as a TV pundit and lawmaker, has captivated voters with his promises of aggressive economic overhauls. However, he faces the challenge of a divided Congress where his Liberty Advances bloc holds only a minor share of seats. His ability to adhere to spending cut plans and quickly implement reforms will be crucial for sustaining market confidence.
Javier Milei’s election victory has undoubtedly energized Argentina’s bond and equity markets, signaling investor optimism for his economic policies. However, the challenges lying ahead, including the potential instability of the peso and the complexity of implementing sweeping reforms, suggest a cautious outlook. The nation’s economy, grappling with inflation and a recession, requires decisive action, and the international community will be closely watching Milei’s next moves in the political and economic arena.