US dollar jumps 31 cents to 15.43 pesos

The US dollar jumped on Monday in banks and foreign exchange agencies for the sixth business session in a row, hitting its three-month high and after the currency had climbed 48 cents last Friday.

Today, the dollar rose 31 cents and was trading at 15.43 pesos in the retail market while in the wholesale segment, it surpassed the 15-peso barrier for the first time since March and closed at 15,32 pesos, 37 cents higher.

The so called “blue” dollar which trades in the informal market added 25 cents at 15.32 pesos in underground houses.

Local media reported today the agricultural sector liquidated more than 319.914 billion dollars last week from exports, which represents the lowest amount in the last three months.

Apart from domestic factors such as offer, demand and interest rates, analysts predict that the Brexit outcome last week could affect the exchange rate. Puente investment bank warned the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union bloc could bring an additional pressure on the dollar, and a bigger volatility.”

Former Central Bank governor Mario Blejer said “if this tends to cause a more serious conflict, the international environment could become rarified, which is not positive for Argentina, which seeks to integrate to the international financial system.”

Gov’t closely watching post-Brexit scenario

The Argentine government is closely following the political and economic scenario in the United Kingdom where the decision by the British people to leave the European Union has sent shockwaves around the world.

A government source quoted by ámbito.com said “we are very concerned” about the Brexit situation.

“It is terrible for the globalized world and a bad sign for Argentina. At a time when we are opening ourselves, they shut themselves down. Furthermore, all agreements with the EU will go backwards,” the source was quoted as saying.

President Mauricio Macri himself will seek to contact his US counterpart Barack Obama in the upcoming hours to discuss the results of the referendum and analyze “joined actions.”

“The world grows with integrations and this is disintegration,” the source said.

“The only thing that can save us is that the countries involved (in the Brexit) show a greater reaction of fear and the United Kingdom does not dare to concretize the breakup,” the source said adding that Argentina’s position will focus on “consolidating the Mercosur and move towards the Pacific Alliance, since separatisms have never been good.”

Argentina''s President Mauricio Macri gestures during a joint press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (out of frame) at Narino presidential Palace in Bogota.

Macri says ‘did not even realize’ he had $18m in Bahamas

President Mauricio Macri discussed with the media the Bahamas case that revealed he had 18 pesos million in the tax haven. “Truth is I did not even realize, honestly,” the head of state said.

“First, I had the money in a traditional bank of the US and Switzerland, the Merrill Lynch. The Merrill Lynch is purchased by a Swiss bank that has its address in the Bahamas, so it is not that the money was in Bahamas, it was in a European country. Truth is that I did not even realize, honestly,” the president said in an interview with the “El Tribuno” newspaper of the province of Salta that was published today.

“I am the politician that more transparency has showed regarding its personal situation, I have always declared everythin,g” he affirmed.

Macri analyzed the country’s economic situation as well.

“The first stage, so that there is investment that leads us to employment, is to get out from inflation, and that we will make it in the second semester as I promised.”

“In 2017, we will grow again. After five years, growing again is vital,” he said.

“There are sectors that are already growing and others that are in recession, they are not level with each other. We are seeking to protect the jobs we have and protect the level of activity, but at the same time, by the hand of investment, to create a different dynamic,” Macri insisted.

“There have been attempts by a minority to create turmoil and problems, but there is a lot of hope in Argentina,” he said. “I have to be infinitely thankful to all Argentineans for accompanying me, for supporting me, for understanding that if I am making these sometimes difficult decisions to tell the truth about the economy it is because I clearly think this is the way.”

López refuses to testify before Judge Rafecas

José López refused to testify before Judge Daniel Rafecas in the illicit enrichment investigation that has the former secretary of Public Works in the spotlight since he was caught by the police when he was trying to hide almost US$9 million in a Buenos Aires province monastery earlier this week.

López arrived in the Comodoro Py courthouse this morning where he reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown, screaming and threatening to hurt himself, refusing to enter the judge’s office. He held a meeting with his lawyer, Fernanda Herrera, before appearing before the magistrate.

According to judicial sources, the ex-official did not know when his birthday was.

Lawyer Herrera, in statements to the press, said her client decided to testify “at a later time.” “He is very reserved and calculates his words,” the legal representative stated adding López was under heavy “stress,” experiencing “great levels of anxiety, isolated and suffering” because he did not have his family with him.

Herrera confirmed that the former secretary will be taken to the Ezeiza prison later today.

US dollar drops to 13.51 pesos, ‘ blue’ at 14.20 pesos

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On the first trading day of the year, the US currency rose 10 cents in banks and exchange agencies to 13.51 pesos, while the so called ‘blue’ parallel exchange rate fell 12 cents to 14.12 pesos.

The dollar has accumulated an increase of 56.6 percent in 2015, the highest in 13 years, with President Mauricio Macri lifting currency controls in December.

The evolution of the US currency price and the consumer price index are being closely watched by the new administration.

Grain exporting firms liquidated more than 752 million dollars in the last week of 2015, according to reports released today.

In tourist season launch, Macri vows to fight drug trafficking

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President Mauricio Macri and Buenos Aires governor María Eugenia Vidal today launched the summer tourist season from coastal city of Mar del Plata.

After announcing new investments in the city, two new air routes from Tucumán and Córdoba and the removal of a local rubbish dump, they pledged to “face and beat drug trafficking.”

 

“Due to inaction and complicity of the previous government, drug trafficking has advanced like never before,” Macri said adding “we won’t look sideways. Argentina needs to fight this calamity and we will do in every corner.” He guaranteed the “judiciary’s independence and better conditions for security forces.”

 

“We consider tourism a fundamental axis to collaborate in our poverty zero plan because it creates employment. This is why we came here to sign a touristic agreement.”

 

“We will take care of the environment and of Mar del Plata’s open-air rubbish dump,” he promised. “We are launching a public work to clean up and eradicate the dump which will begin between March and April.”

 

Macri also announced Aerolíneas Argentinas state-run airline will add new flights from the provinces of Córdoba and Tucumán to the city Mar del Plata. “It will be easier, quicker and safer to travel,” he said.

 

Zannini: I would be honoured to accompany Scioli

Legal and Technical Presidential secretary Carlos Zannini has confirmed that he has accepted Daniel Scioli’s offer to accompany the Buenos Aires governor on the Victory Front ticket for this year’s elections, after the candidate revealed his decision the previous evening. 

“I have spoken with the President [Cristina Fernández de Kirchner] and I have accepted Daniel Scioli’s candidacy,” the official told journalists from Government House today. 

“It is a great honour to share the ticket with the man who was vice-president to Néstor Kirchenr because this means the continuity of a path.” 

When asked about the future of the campaign of Florencio Randazzo, who alongside Scioli is hoping for the Victory Front nomination in the PASO primaries, Zannini only answered “I do not know”