Breaking: Argentina central bank chief quits

Breaking: Argentina central bank chief quits

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:04 pm

Argentine central bank governor Juan Carlos Fabrega resigned Wednesday, the president’s office said, as the country tried to fight its way out of an economic slowdown and a debt default.

The resignation was confirmed by presidential communications chief Alfredo Scoccimarro a day after President Cristina Kirchner charged in a televised address that domestic and American interests were pushing to devalue the peso, topple her center-left government and even kill her.

President Cristina Kirchner

President Cristina Kirchner

Struggling Argentina’s economic woes have been piling up in recent months, with annual inflation estimated at more than 30 percent, the value of the peso tumbling and a bitter court dispute with two hedge fund creditors forcing the country to default on its debt for the second time in 13 years.

The Buenos Aires stock market fell 8.22 percent Wednesday to close at 11,516.28 points after Kirchner’s emotional address and amid speculation that Fabrega was on his way out.

Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy, is struggling to get back on track with deals to restructure the debt it defaulted on during its 2001 crisis.

A US court has ordered it to halt interest payments to creditors who agreed to take steep losses until it settles a $1.3-billion dispute with the “holdout” hedge funds refusing to accept a write-down.

The row has put a spotlight on the central bank’s shrinking reserves, which fell from $50 billion in 2011 to $28 billion today.

Fabrega had held the highly sensitive job for less than a year.

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