BUENOS AIRES (AFP) – Argentina’s central bank governor resigned Wednesday, the president’s office said, as the country grapples with an economic slowdown, a debt default and a damaging row with the United States.
Juan Carlos Fabrega’s decision to quit after less than a year in the post comes a day after an emotional President Cristina Kirchner alleged in a televised address that domestic and US interests were pushing to devalue the peso, topple her center-left government – and even kill her.
Argentina’s economic woes have been piling up in recent months, with annual inflation estimated at nearly 40 per cent, the value of the peso tumbling and a bitter court dispute with two hedge fund creditors forcing the country to default on its debt for the second time in 13 years.
Underlining the economic morass, the Buenos Aires stock market fell 8.22 per cent to close at 11,516.28 points after Kirchner’s address and amid speculation that Fabrega was on his way out.
Latin America’s third-largest economy is struggling to get back on track with deals to restructure the debt it defaulted on during its 2001 crisis.
A US court has ordered it to halt interest payments to creditors who agreed to take steep losses until it settles a $1.3 billion dispute with the “holdout” hedge funds refusing to accept a write-down.
The row has put a spotlight on the central bank’s shrinking reserves, which fell from $50 billion in 2011 to $28 billion today.
Fabrega, a long-time central bank official, had held the highly sensitive top job for less than a year.