Luis Caputo, former president of Argentina’s central bank, speaks at a news conference. (Photographer: Erica Canepa/Bloomberg)

Argentine Central Bank Head Resigns Three Months Into Job

(Bloomberg) -- Argentine Central Bank President Luis Caputo resigned on Tuesday morning just three months after taking office, posing a fresh challenge to an economy already grappling with a collapse in its currency.

Caputo, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co and Deutsche Bank trader who was previously Finance Minister under President Mauricio Macri, said the decision was due to personal issues, according to an e-mailed statement from the bank. Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne’s deputy, Guido Sandleris, will replace Caputo, according to the office of the presidency.

“This resignation is due to personal issues, with the conviction that the new deal with the International Monetary Fund will re-establish confidence in the fiscal, financial, monetary and exchange regimes,” the statement said.

Caputo, 53, has spent the majority of his tenure at the bank trying to stabilize the peso which has tumbled 50 percent, the most in emerging markets this year. The yield on the dollar bond due in 2117 rose 20 basis points to 9.32 percent after the news. The peso dropped 3.5 percent to 38.6 after the news.

The peso rout drove the economy into the second recession in three years, forcing inflation higher and leading the nation to seek a record $50 billion credit line from the International Monetary Fund to ease investor concern.

Caputo last month raised rates to 60 percent, the world’s highest but the move failed to stem the currency’s decline as investors questioned the country’s ability to meet its financing needs amid a recession.

Argentina is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a revision of the terms of a $50 billion credit line agreed in June. President Macri told Bloomberg News on Monday the revamped agreement “will bring confidence" to markets and investors and will include a new monetary policy framework.

“We take note of today’s announcements regarding the change at the Central Bank of Argentina. We look forward to continuing our close and constructive relationship with the BCRA under the leadership of Guido Sandleris,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement. “Our staff and the Argentine authorities continue to work intensively with the objective of concluding the staff level talks in very short order.”

Tough Spot

Before taking the presidency of the central bank, Caputo, 53, was at the helm of the finance ministry where he helped arrange a deal for Argentina to sell 100-year bonds, a rarity for a developing nation. He was a key figure in reaching a deal with debt holdouts from the country’s 2001 default, an accord that put Argentina on the path back toward normalcy after Macri’s election in 2015.

Unlike his predecessor, Sandleris has spent most of his career in academics. He has degrees from Columbia University, the London School of Economics and the University of Buenos Aires.

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