Argentine Economy Minister resigns amid deepening crisis

Buenos Aires (AFP) – Argentina’s Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne resigned last Saturday after a week of economic tumult caused by Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s defeat in a primary poll ahead of a general election.

Dujovne will be replaced by Economy Minister for Buenos Aires province Hernan Lacunza, Argentine media reported.

The country’s peso ended the week having shed 20 per cent of its value against the US dollar as both Fitch and S&P cut the South American country’s long-term credit rating, citing increased uncertainty and a rising risk of default.

Dujovne said, in a letter posted on the website of La Nacion newspaper, he was “convinced that, under the circumstances, the (government’s) management needs significant renewal in the economic arena”.

He leaves in the middle of a deepening economic crisis following last Sunday’s primary elections in which market-friendly Macri was dealt a huge blow in his bid for re-election when he polled 15 points less than centre-left Peronist candidate Alberto Fernandez.

The primaries serve as a bellwether for general elections in October. Dujovne’s announcement marks the first change in Macri’s cabinet since voters went to the polls.

Fitch, which downgraded Argentina’s credit rating two notches to “CCC,” said the centre-right’s defeat “increases risks of a break from the policy strategy of the current administration of Mauricio Macri guided by a programme with the IMF.”