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Banking

Guillermo Nielsen exclusive: Inside Argentina’s financial crisis

In December 2001, the government defaulted on $81.8 billion of debt repayments and broke the peso’s link with the dollar. When Nielsen was appointed in May 2002, the country was in the midst of one of the worst financial, social and political crises to hit any country since the Great Depression. His job, together with that of his economy minister, Roberto Lavagna, was to help restore stability and turn around Argentina’s financial fortunes.

Why Lavagna was the only man for the job | “Can you pay me before I die?”

A letter from the IMF:

IMF responds to Nielsen accusations

A letter from Guillermo Nielsen:

.......and Nielsen responds to the IMF

In an account written exclusively for Euromoney, Nielsen reveals how the government took the key steps to resolve the financial crisis, and pulls no punches on Argentina’s relations with the IMF.

It’s a fascinating insight into how running a country is more than just about following Excel spreadsheets and textbook policies.

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YOU DON’T HAVE a banking system, most banks will go broke in 15 days, the best banks can last two months at the most. You have to launch a compulsory bond swap of the frozen reprogrammed deposits, and reinforce the liquidity controls. You are in the middle of a dangerous monetary overhang that will end up in hyperinflation.”

The man saying this across the octagonal working table at the Argentine economy minister’s office in Buenos Aires in May 2000 was an IMF banking expert who popped up surprisingly in the ministry that Monday morning, together with the IMF’s River Plate chief, the official responsible for Argentina.

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