UPDATE 1-New Argentina government aims to dismantle currency controls Dec 14

BUENOS AIRES The government of Argentina’s president-elect Mauricio Macri mentioned Sunday that it will seek to dismantle a series of capital controls propping up the peso as quickly as possible, aiming for December 14 if the central bank is beneath new management.

Macri has previously demured on providing details on his technique to lift outgoing president Cristina Fernandez’ so-called “clamp-down” on dollar purchases that has created a multi-tiered exchange price, saying he should 1st take a close appear at the true state of national accounts.

But incoming finance minister Alfonso Prat-Gay said in an interview with 3 local dailies that doing so was a prime priority to tackle soon right after the transfer of power Dec. 10, despite the possibility of a sharp devaluation.

“The program to unify the currency market place is the 1st signal for the economy to commence to normalize. We’re going to fulfill that guarantee as quickly and as exhaustively as feasible,” Prat-Gay was quoted saying in newspapers La Nacion, Perfil and Clarin.

“If we can do it the 14th, we’ll do it the 14th, and if not, we’ll do it as soon as we see the correct conditions,” he stated.

Prat-Gay stated currency reform could most likely only start as soon as a new central bank chief assumes energy and it is clear there will be a enough supply of dollars. He added that he hopes to make an announcement soon on a new source of tough currency that will assist the bank restore its dwindling reserves.

Present capital controls incorporate strict limits on dollar savings, restrictions on imports and a hefty tax on credit card use abroad.

Prat-Gay did not specify whether or not the government would seek to undo the controls all at as soon as or bit-by-bit. He could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Prat-Gay was international head of foreign-exchange analysis at JP Morgan in the late 1990s before top Argentina’s central bank among 2002 and 2004. Macri picked him to help him end more than a decade of cost-free-spending populism that has hobbled growth and stoked inflation in Latin America’s third biggest economy.

Central bank president Alejandro Vanoli is anticipated to resign in coming days, under pressure from Macri to make way for a currency devaluation to spur exports and halt the drain on central bank reserves utilised to prop up the peso.

Macri plans to appoint former Buenos Aires city bank chief Federico Sturzenegger to head the bank.

(Reporting by Juliana Castilla Writing by Mitra Taj Editing by Mark Potter and Andrew Hay)