After the success of debt exchange in pesos, the opposition returned to the ring with new criticisms of the economic guidelines of the Government. The person who came out to respond on this occasion was the Secretary of Economic Policy of the Ministry of Economy, Gabriel Rubinstein, by asking the economists of Together for Change to put aside the foolish questions and “raise the bar” of the discussion.
Last Thursday, Economy managed to finalize a debt swap for $4.3 trillion pesos which allowed the maturities that the Government would have to face in the coming months to be extended to 2024 and 2025. In this way, they managed to clear up the concerns generated by the ability to pay in the pre-electoral period.
“Investors, businessmen, governments of other countries, large savers, let’s say, “the market” in general, received this achievement very well,” said Rubinstein. However, not everyone highlighted the success of the exchange, since sectors of Together for Change returned to the charge with the questions.
Through a statement and through various Twitter threads, the economists Hernán Lacunza -former Minister of Economy of María Eugenia Vidal in the Province and of Mauricio Macri in the Nation-, Luciano Laspina and Guido Sandleris -former head of the BCRA during Cambiemos-, described the exchange as a “vile and ruinous operation”.
In an article published in the newspaper La Nación, Rubinstein responded to the questions by stating that it was “a swap with a longer term, at reasonable rates and voluntary” with which he asked himself: “Ruinous for whom? Certainly not for the State (or is it less ruinous to default?). Vile? What does it mean done with evil, a despicable action. Is this the adjective for a voluntary debt swap? Boys…”.
On the other hand, he denied that the exchange violates the Financial Administration Law, as assured by Together for Change. “Why do they say that, if the State manages to extend terms and at rates lower than those in force in the market? (Would you like lower rates? How about you stop saying that debt of less than 10% of GDP is unsustainable and help keep long rates lower and lower?),” he added.
Regarding the alleged negative consequences that the swap could generate for the current administration and the future government, Rubinstein first asked them to “not worry so much about the present administration. For us it is a very good measure”.
And as for the future, he retorted: “If they see it as too demanding a challenge to manage a debt of less than 10% of GDP, with maturities now more spread over time, don’t they think they should review whether they feel in a position to exercise government? Look, it’s full of more difficult problems than this.”
Finally, he invited the members of the opposition “to dialogue and discuss more important things, such as: What can we do to eliminate the fiscal deficit, so the State should not increase its debt?”
And he reminded the opposition that discussions on the 2024 Budget should begin in a short time. “How about, then, if we leave all this “nonsense” aside and start technical-political discussions from now, let’s see if in 2024, instead of the 0.9% deficit (agreed with the IMF), and with a more vigorous economy (no drought, completed NK1 gas pipeline, new government, etc.), are we encouraged to seek a balanced budget?”, he concluded.