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Argentina: An unknown quantity

Analysts are pondering the new economy minister’s strategy.

Felisa Miceli: deserves the benefit of the doubt

Investors say that Argentina’s new economy minister should be given the chance to prove herself. Felisa Miceli’s surprise appointment at the end of November was met with uncertainty. Argentine bond prices fell on the news, the Merval equity index lost 5% and the peso weakened a few centavos. Some observers have questioned Miceli’s ability, fearing she might be out of her depth. The 53-year-old was previously head of state-owned Banco de la Nación, the country’s biggest bank, but has no experience of running a ministry. Unlike her predecessor, Roberto Lavagna, she is known to be politically close to president Néstor Kirchner, which has led some analysts to suggest that the president will have too great a say over economic policy. “It’s expected she will be much more cooperative with Kirchner and his political team than Lavagna was,” says Walter Molano, head of research at BCP Securities in Greenwich, Connecticut. He adds, though, that he doesn’t expect to see a big change in policy in the near future.

Raphael Kassin, head of emerging-market fixed income at ABN Amro Asset Management in London, says that Miceli’s political ties to Kirchner are not important.

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