November 26, 2019 / 8:23 PM / 15 days ago

Argentine president-elect names pick for key statistics agency

FILE PHOTO: Argentina’s President-elect Alberto Fernandez speaks during a news conference after a meeting with Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez at the Presidential House in Montevideo, Uruguay November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mariana Greif

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernandez said on Tuesday he plans to appoint moderate Peronist economist Marco Lavagna to head the government’s INDEC statistics agency, which is responsible for calculating and publishing economic indicators.

It marks the first major nomination of a member of Fernandez’s incoming economic team. Markets are eager to learn who will head key bodies such as the Treasury, central bank and agriculture in the grains exporting powerhouse.

“It is expected that Marco will take charge of INDEC,” Fernandez said on local television.

Fernandez beat President Mauricio Macri in the October election, after a politically toxic cocktail of recession, high inflation and fallout from unpopular austerity policies hurt the incumbent’s image. One of Macri’s accomplishments, however, was to improve the credibility of official economic data.

INDEC was notorious under previous President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who led Argentine from 2007 to 2015, for under-reporting inflation statistics. She was Alberto Fernandez’s running mate in this year’s campaign and will be sworn in as vice president when he takes office on Dec. 10.

Lavagna is the son of former Argentine Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna, who also ran for president this year but whose campaign never gained the traction to seriously challenge Macri.

Reporting by Gabriel Burin, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Tom Brown

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