The victory of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential election marks the end of a ‘disastrously toxic’ period of government in the Latin American country.
That is the verdict of Roberto Lampl, head of Latin American investments at UK-based boutique Alquity Investment Management.
Macri overcame Daniel Scioli, seen as a successor to outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, on 22 November, which was a run-off following an inconclusive result at the end of October.
Lampl, who was previously highly critical of Kirchner, said Macri was in the driving seat following October’s stalemate. Speaking after the result, Lampl said the change marks a positive step for a country facing many challenges.
‘Argentina has voted for change and today marks an excellent first step in finally achieving this goal. Much of this win by Macri has hinged on the possibility that after twelve years of disastrously toxic Kirchnerismo, the Cambiemos coalition (which translates as ‘change’) can offer Argentina a brighter future,’ he said.
However, Lampl added, the transition will not be smooth, and he thinks the country's efforts to improve politically and economically could produce volatility in the short term.
‘Macri will have to undo twelve years of damage but looks set to prioritise the economy and growth during his presidency. Whilst we might still see a currency devaluation, this won’t necessarily hinder progress,’ he said.
‘More importantly, under Macri the country must normalise relations with the capital markets and start attracting the all-important foreign investors.’
Lampl said the nation remains resource rich and still boasts vast agricultural resources, as well as a highly educated population. ‘Today there is an optimism in Buenos Aires which hasn’t been seen for over a decade, change has finally come to Argentina and not a moment too soon,’ he said.
Many fund managers had anticipated Macri winning the second round, with some, such as Tim Drinkall at Morgan Stanley, positioning their portfolios to capitalise on such an event in the lead-up to the vote.