FILE PHOTO: Argentina’s President-elect Alberto Fernandez looks on as he attends the oath of office of Tucuman Governor Juan Manzur, in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s President-elect Alberto Fernandez held a phone call on Friday with U.S. President Donald Trump, Fernandez’s press office said, after the center-left politician won an election last Sunday.
During the call, Trump told Fernandez that he had “instructed” the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which extended a $57 billion credit line to the country last year, to work with Argentina’s incoming administration.
“Don’t hesitate to call me,” the statement quoted Trump as telling Fernandez during the call. The Argentine president-elect told Trump he hoped the two would have a “mature and cordial” relationship, the statement said.
“We have to do things together,” Fernandez said, according to a transcript of the call provided by the Fernandez team.
The IMF deal, negotiated with Argentina’s outgoing President Mauricio Macri, has been in limbo since the Aug. 11 primary election, which Fernandez won by a higher than expected margin. The primary result prompted a steep sell-off in Argentine assets and sparked fear of a sovereign default.
But the peso steadied this week, helped by central bank interventions, after Fernandez’s election win. The currency closed Friday at 59.745 to the U.S. dollar.
Business-friendly Macri won office in 2015 on promises of “normalizing” an economy distorted by heavy-handed government controls implemented by the previous president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was Fernandez’s running mate and will become Argentina’s next vice president in December.
But Macri failed to attract the foreign direct investment needed to sustain growth in an economy battered by recession, high inflation and debt fears.
Local stock and bond markets, as well as the country’s all-important agricultural sector are on tenterhooks, waiting for signals from Alberto Fernandez about his upcoming policy framework. Farmers say they are holding back investment until the incoming leader makes his trade policies clear.
Reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Alistair Bell and Richard Chang