Argentina Economy Minister Na 11/29 06:46
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentina's President-elect Javier Milei
announced Wednesday he has chosen Luis Caputo, a former finance minister and
Central Bank chief known as an expert in markets, to lead the Economy Ministry
when the right-wing leader takes office on Dec. 10.
The pick confirms that Milei, a libertarian outsider, is building a more
orthodox team to manage Argentina's economy, which is suffering from red-hot
inflation running at an annual rate of 143%.
"Yes, the economy minister is Luis Caputo," Milei said in a radio interview
shortly after landing from a two-day trip to the United States, where he met
with officials from the Biden administration.
As the first finance minister in former conservative President Mauricio
Macri's government, Caputo was in charge of a debt restructuring and later
became Central Bank chief. Milei has said he wants to get rid of the Central
Macri's party backed Milei in the Nov. 19 presidential runoff and now his
allies are jockeying for positions inside the president-elect's Cabinet,
leading to some tensions with his traditional libertarian allies.
The market has welcomed signs of Milei's more orthodox choices for key
Cabinet positions. Argentine stocks and bonds have increased while the local
currency, the peso, has appreciated slightly in financial markets since he won
Milei had previously said he was going to hold off until his inauguration to
unveil the post of economy minister, because he feared his choice could get
blamed for any economic woes before he even takes office.
Caputo's naming is no surprise as he was part of the small group of Milei
aides who accompanied the new president-elect to Washington.
Milei had previously praised Caputo for his market expertise. In a
television interview last week he said he believes Caputo could overcome the
problem of short-term notes known as "Leliqs" -- short-term loans the Central
Bank makes to banks as a way to vacuum up excess pesos -- and "end controls on
the exchange rate."
Milei has said he considers the Central Bank's stock of "Leliqs" as one of
the first problems he has to solve. He says the notes could spark
hyperinflation because they increase the stock of pesos.
"I have to dismantle the 'Leliqs' ball to avoid hyperinflation," Milei said
in an interview. "There is no greater financial expert in Argentina than Luis
'Toto' Caputo. He is the ideal person to dismantle this problem."