EMERGING markets have not been the same without Argentina, a country that embodies the promise and peril, the romance and the rockiness of the asset class. In 1988 it was one of the ten original members of the most popular emerging-market equity index, introduced by MSCI. In the late 1990s it was also the biggest member of the benchmark-bond indices compiled by JPMorgan Chase. But once it defaulted at the end of 2001, Argentina was exiled from global debt markets. And after it subsequently imposed capital controls on “hot money”, its shares suffered a similar banishment, ejected from MSCI’s index in 2009. It became a remote “frontier market”, like countries such as Bangladesh.
Since Mauricio Macri succeeded Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as president at the end of 2015, Argentina has been finding its way back from the financial periphery. It has floated its currency and lifted capital controls, recently abolishing a remaining requirement that foreign investors keep their money in the country for at least 120 days. In April the government sold $16.5bn of dollar bonds to international investors in a single day (a record for an…Continue reading