Argentina encara ‘stagflación,’ dice Carrió

Del Bloomberg Press, de los Estados Unidos, encontramos uno de los pocos artí­culos en el cual diarios extranjeros mencionan a un candidato que no es Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. La inflación ha subido en años recientes, y Carrió culpa las politicas económicas del presidente actual. La candidata Carrió, la segunda candidata después de Cristina, dice que quiere enfocarse en la economí­a para bajar la inflación y evitar una recesion.

Argentina Faces í¢â‚¬ËœSatgflation,í¢â‚¬â„¢ Says President Candidate Carrio
Eliana Raszewski
Bloomberg Press
11 de octubre 2007

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) — Argentine presidential candidate Elisa Carrio said the government is «lying» about the rate of inflation while the economy is heading for «stagflation»: accelerating prices and slowing growth.
Carrio, running a distant second in polls behind first lady Cristina Fernandez, said President Nestor Kirchner’s fiscal and wage policies have stoked inflation to twice the officially reported rate of 8.6 percent and will push it to 30 percent next year. At the same time, inadequate investment and lack of new production capacity will stall economic growth, she said.
«We need to avoid falling back into periods of recession, and for that we need to lower inflation,» Carrio, 50, said in an interview this week at her Buenos Aires apartment. «Argentina has a vivid memory when it comes to inflation.»
Prices rose 5,000 percent in 1989, forcing the government of then-President Raul Alfonsin to call early elections. His successor, Carlos Menem, pegged the peso to the dollar at a one- to-one rate before four years of recession in the late 1990s led Argentina to default on $95 billion in debt and devalue its currency.
Since taking office in 2003, Kirchner, 57, has led South America’s second-largest economy to five straight years of annual growth above 8 percent. His wife, who skipped party primaries, has pledged to extend Kirchner’s policies and combat poverty.
Fewer Loans
Those policies, Carrio said, will lead to stagflation. Inflation expectations of 30 percent will discourage banks from making loans for productive assets such as new factories and machinery, slowing the economy, she said, while prices, spurred by increasing demand and a growing money supply, will continue to rise unabated.
Carrio, a twice-divorced mother of three, said families are struggling with surging food costs, making inflation a pressing campaign issue exacerbated by doubts that the official consumer price index reflects reality.
In January, Kirchner replaced bureaucrats in charge of calculating the index with political appointees. Private economists and government employees say current data understate inflation. As recently as this month, Kirchner said index is «perfect.»
«We need to take a series of measures to put order back into the economy,» Carrio said.
Central Banker
Last month she tapped former Central Bank President Alfonso Prat-Gay as her chief economic adviser. Prat-Gay, former global head of foreign-exchange strategy in London at JPMorgan Chase & Co., slowed inflation from as much as 40 percent in 2002 to 5.9 percent in 2004, before Kirchner decided not to renew his term.
«The best thing about Carrio is the people she surrounds herself with,» said Jorge Giacobbe, a political analyst at Giacobbe & Asociados pollster in Buenos Aires.
In the campaign, Carrio, a former lawmaker, is tempering the type of rhetoric she used in a 2004 interview with America TV, when she said the country’s political leaders managed the illegal drug trade, including night flights to secret landing strips in the north.
«Carrio has adopted a more rational position,» said Ricardo Rouvier, head of pollster Ricardo Rouvier & Asociados in Buenos Aires. «She’s moderated her allegations and her criticism and turned herself into a more credible candidate.»
Investigative Committees
Carrio ran for president in 2003, the year Kirchner was elected, finishing in fourth place. She served in Congress from 1995 until earlier this year, where she led committees that investigated money laundering and recommended Supreme Court Judges for impeachment.
She helped to form her ARI party in 2001 after she broke with the Radical Civic Union party and refused to vote for increasing the president’s discretion to distribute government funds.
Carrio will have a tough fight even to force a second round in the current election on Oct. 28. While she is second in almost all the polls, a candidate can win with either 45 percent of the vote, or 40 percent and a 10 percentage point lead.
The most-recent poll, conducted by CEOP Opinion Publica, shows Fernandez, 54, ahead of Carrio by 45.7 percent to 14.6 percent. Roberto Lavagna, 65, a candidate for the opposition UNA party and head strategist of the country’s debt restructuring under Kirchner in 2005, is third with 10.2 percent.
The poll of 2,931 people was taken in the first week of October and has a margin of error of 1.84 percentage points.
A second round would be held Nov. 25.
To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires