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article imageArgentine central bank chief resigns

By AFP     Dec 9, 2015 in Politics

The head of Argentina's central bank resigned Wednesday, four years before the end of his term, under strong pressure from president-elect Mauricio Macri.

Alejandro Vanoli's move opens the door for Macri's overhaul of economic policies that could include letting the peso float, which would likely result in a sharp devaluation of the currency.

Just hours before Macri officially assumes office following his election victory late last month, Vanoli announced he was stepping down in a letter to outgoing President Cristina Kirchner, released by the bank.

"I am taking this decision in the context of the election result and after some deep reflection, with serenity and the spirit of having demonstrated and defended my commitment to our country and our people," he said.

Macri is expected to propose economist Federico Sturzenegger to replace Vanoli. Sturzenegger is a legislator, former president of Bank Ciudad, and former Harvard University professor.

Vanoli, central bank chief since October 2014, had resisted leaving, aiming to serve out his term through 2019.

During his year on the job, he has fought to defend the peso's close ties to the dollar, even as the currency traded as much as 50 percent cheaper on the black market.

He took aim in his letter at talk from Macri's team that the peso will be freed up to devaluation.

"An objective analysis of our reserves and other relevant indicators show that an abrupt devaluation is not an inevitable course that the national economy needs to follow," he wrote.

"On the contrary, if the president-elect -- as his aides have repeatedly said -- decides to force a violent devaluation, it will be exclusively the result of a political decision."

Macri, 56, has vowed to kick-start Latin America's third-largest economy by ending protectionist import restrictions, cutting heavy taxes on agricultural exports and scrapping the official exchange rate puffing up the peso.

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