The stock market in Argentina saw a major boost on Monday after the Sunday night electoral victory of libertarian “anarcho-capitalist” Javier Milei. At least four major U.S.-listed Argentine companies surged by as much as 35 percent, already marking a dramatic turnaround for the nation’s struggling economy.
Despite boasting the second-largest economy in South America, Argentina has been mired in economic turmoil for the better part of seven decades under the Peronist governments that have ruled since the 1940s. An estimated 40 percent of Argentina’s 45 million citizens live in poverty, and runaway inflation has crippled economic development. As of 2023, the country’s inflation rate was hovering around 140 percent — but compared to the 3,000 percent inflation rate in 1989, this almost seems like an improvement.
Javier Milei, a 52-year-old rock musician turned economist, ran his populist campaign on “taking a chainsaw to the system,” primarily focusing on eliminating Argentina’s central bank and replacing the peso with the American dollar. After a surprise primary victory in August and a contentious general election last month, Milei was declared the winner in Sunday’s runoff election, striking a blow to the establishment.
The election of the fiery libertarian has already had a noticeable effect on the national economy less than 24 hours after the polls closed.
Energy company YPF saw the biggest jump of 35 percent, followed by telecommunications provider Telecom Argentina and financial services holding company Grupo Financiero Galicia, both of which rose 20 percent. E-commerce venture MercadoLibre had a more modest increase, but it was still sufficient to show promise.
The Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (ARGT), an exchange-traded fund tracking the country’s stocks, also jumped by 10 points — the biggest single-day gains in at least a decade.
Local markets were closed on Monday for a holiday.
“Today is the beginning of the end of Argentina’s decadence,” Milei declared during his victory speech. “We’ll start doing things that history has shown work, and within 35 years, we’ll return to being a world power.”