Javier Milei confirms Luis Caputo will be his Economy Minister

The president-elect gave the news upon returning to Argentina after a two-day trip to the US

Luis Caputo will be Argentina’s economy minister once the new administration is inaugurated on December 10, President-elect Javier Milei said upon returning to the country after a two-day trip to the United States. Caputo had been the frontrunner for the job since last week, but his appointment had not yet been confirmed.

“Luis Caputo will be the economy minister. We had already decided this,” Milei said Wednesday morning during interviews with La Red and Continental radio stations. The president-elect first confirmed the appointment with Radio Mitre while discussing the meetings he had in the U.S.

Caputo was finance minister and Central Bank chief during former President Mauricio Macri’s government. He only lasted three months in the latter position, resigning amid a bank run. He is seen as one of the main drivers of Argentina’s 2018 IMF deal and one of Macri’s most trusted men.

The president-elect explained he chose Caputo to be his economy minister due to his expertise in finance. “Out of the 15 fiscal deficit points the country has, ten of them are due to the Central Bank; the main issue to solve here is the LELIQs,” he said, referring to the Central Bank’s interest-bearing liabilities.

The LELIQs are a title in pesos issued by the Central Bank. They are basically short-term loans that the Central Bank gets from banks as a way to manage liquidity absorption.

“It is crucial that [someone with] a lot of expertise solves this issue, because if we make a mistake there, we will end up with hyperinflation.”

Caputo joined Milei on his trip to the United States, where he met with U.S. Treasury officials alongside future Chief of Staff Nicolás Posse. “Economy Minister Luis Caputo was able to deeply discuss the [LELIQ] issue,” Milei told Radio Mitre.

“The meeting with the Treasury had excellent results,” he added, explaining that the U.S. officials who met with Caputo and Posse are “very committed [to solving] the issue of the LELIQs.”

Caputo also met with IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva and Deputy Director Gita Gopinath to explain the tightening plan the incoming government will apply, the president-elect added.

Asked whether his government would request a new IMF loan, Milei said that things were not discussed in those terms. “For starters, if they give us a rollover and keep the agreement as is, that will be a good starting point.”

On Tuesday, Georgieva said the IMF is “very keen” to support Argentina and that the country could be a candidate to receive financing through its Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST).

“We want to put [Argentina’s fiscal balance] in order so that it doesn’t have deficit,” Milei continued. “That’s why Caputo’s role is so important: to solve the LELIQs issue.”

Meeting with White House officials

During his trip, in which he visited New York and Washington DC, Milei also met with top members of the U.S. National Security Council Jake Sullivan and Juan Gonzalez on Tuesday.

“During that meeting, we explained the challenges ahead of us and the nature of the economic program we want to develop,” Milei revealed. He also expressed his intention to align with the US, Israel and other western countries. “We received favorable feedback on both topics.”

According to a statement put out by Milei’s press team, Sullivan expressed the United States’ willingness to collaborate in the government transition “in view of the challenging political, economic, and social situation the country is going through.”

Present at the meeting were also Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols, and U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley. From Milei’s camp, Caputo and Posse were in attendance, as well as presidential advisor Santiago Caputo, recently confirmed Argentine Ambassador to the U.S. Gerardo Werthein, and campaign chief Karina Milei.

“It was a very positive trip. We had much better results than we expected,” Milei stated.


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