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Argentine finance minister resigns amid economic turmoil

(Xinhua)    15:29, August 18, 2019

BUENOS AIRES, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Argentine Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne, who did not support the president's measures for dealing with the economic turmoil troubling the country, stepped down on Saturday.

In his resignation letter to President Mauricio Macri on Saturday, Dujovne said "under the present circumstances," the administration "needs a significant renewal in the economic area."

Argentina went through a week of economic turmoil after last Sunday's primary election produced shocking results in which presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez trounced Macri, the market-friendly incumbent.

The turmoil led to a substantial devaluation of the Argentine peso, a national stock market crash, and a plunge of Argentine companies' share prices on Wall Street.

On Wednesday, Macri rolled out a package of economic relief measures to appease voters, including a reevaluation of the minimum wage, a tax deferral for small businesses, and a tax cut that would benefit 2 million workers.

Dujovne did not support the measures for fear that they could violate fiscal targets set in the country's 56.3-billion-U.S.-dollar loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to local media.

Dujovne said in his resignation letter that he had done his best to help the Macri administration tame a significant deficit and trim public spending. Such austerity measures were part of the condition Macri took to secure the IMF loan.

The primary election result, which served as a bellwether for general elections in October, was a major defeat for Macri, according to analysts.

If elected, his adversary, the central-left candidate Fernandez could probably reverse the current fiscal and monetary policies, and renegotiate with the IMF over the rescue loan.

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