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Investors celebrate Milei’s win but Argentina faces difficult path

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Investors are celebrating the unexpected victory of radical libertarian Javier Milei in Argentina's presidential election, as both stocks and bonds experienced a surge in international trading, the FT reports. Drawing inspiration from the campaign strategies of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, Milei secured 56% of the vote, defying expectations.

However, concerns loom over the incoming government's ability to navigate a challenging economic landscape marked by 143% annual inflation, soaring debt levels, and an empty treasury. Analysts suggest this could be Argentina's most turbulent presidential transition in at least a decade.

Milei, an economist with a penchant for drastic reforms, has vowed to overhaul the Argentine state, privatize extensively, and implement economic shock therapy. Despite retreating on some controversial proposals before the election, he asserted in his victory speech that there is "no room for gradualism." While international markets responded positively, economists caution that Argentina faces the risk of economic collapse unless swift measures are taken to restore confidence.

Argentina's dollar bonds gained 5% to reach their highest level since September—although they remain significantly below face value. Milei's promise to fully privatize state-controlled energy company YPF SA led to a nearly 40% surge in US-listed shares.

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