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New Argentine President Mauricio Macri Moves Fast to Reverse Kirchner's Policies

December 15, 2015

BUENOS AIRES—Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Tuesday declared an energy emergency, secured a $500 million shale-oil investment and unleashed a backlash by bypassing the Senate to temporarily appoint two Supreme Court justices by decree.

The day’s activities reflected the dizzying pace Mr. Macri has taken since he took office on Thursday to try to jump-start a sickly economy and overturn a decade of his predecessor’s policies.

In five days, Mr. Macri has begun overhauling Argentina’s discredited statistics agency, eliminated most farm export taxes, cut personal income taxes, replaced the central bank president, and appointed two Supreme Court justices....

...The new president said he would eliminate currency controls this week, ending a four-year policy that has choked economic growth.

While economists welcome the move, it is widely expected to come with a currency devaluation that could take the exchange rate to around 15 pesos to the dollar from 9.8 currently. That could fuel inflation, which rose faster in the first week of December than it has since early 2014.

“Acting quickly and decisively is very positive for President Macri, and frankly very positive for the country,” said Susan Segal, head of the New York-based think tank Council of the Americas. “The faster he implements some of these measures, the faster we’ll see some of the benefits....”

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