Two new cabinet ministers promised predictability and no “grand announcements” concerning the economy in their first press conferences after Monday’s cabinet reshuffle.
New Economy Minister Axel Kicillof assured the public there would be no “abrupt changes” to economic policy and that the government is “working very hard to carry out a program of government targets, with very clear objectives that the President has given us,” in a short press conference held before midday.
The goals have to do with, “employment, production, income distribution, and improvement of living conditions of Argentines,” Kicillof told journalists at the Economy Ministry.
“There are many instruments and one goal: to ensure predictability. There will not be anything harmful done to workers or employers, because this model is for companies to have good results,” he said.
Addressing the Central Bank’s reserves which have fallen more than US$10bn so far this year, he said, “We have reserves that have suffered some cuts but are at consistent and very strong levels, and the exchange rate is part of a comprehensive economic management plan.”
“What we have to do is generate increased supply of dollars with respect to demand and to see what these dollars are used for; we are not going to do anything to generate abrupt changes in the economy,” he reiterated.
Both Kiciloff and new Chief of Cabinet Jorge Capitanich, who also gave a press conference this morning, faced questions concerning inflation. Kicillof said: “We are working with price agreements,” while Capitanich said that the controversy over the INDEC figures is a thing of the past thanks to the new price indicator that will come into effect next year.
During his press conference early this morning, Capitanich said the Government has “objectives to carry out” to “generate economic growth, employment opportunities, conditions for public and private investment, certainty and predictability, and to preserve the purchasing power of wages.”
He said the government will work to strengthen the Central Bank’s reserves, which have dropped drastically this year, by stimulating exports and creating conditions to encourage higher levels of private investment. “We have a dynamic agenda with 200 goals seeking to fulfill the 2014 budget, an increase of 6% [growth rate] and and a trade surplus of US$10bn.”
Capitanich said it was important to prioritise productive investment over luxury items. “We will protect, care for our reserves… It is much more important to have essential supplies for the production chain than to buy a luxury car that only satisfies one person.”
He promised to work openly with all governors and will maintain “permanent interaction” with Congress, coordinating meetings with various parliamentary groups, including the opposition.
He also proposed daily talks with the press, starting earlier than today’s press conference which began at 8.15am.
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner yesterday attended the swearing in of the new cabinet ministers after 47 days absent from the Casa Rosada.
She also spoke from the courtyard of the Casa Rosada to hundreds of young supporters, speaking about “deepening the model.” She announced that unemployment had fallen to 6.8% and promised to invest in freight trains to improve their “economic competitiveness.”