Macri predicts worse to come as Argentine peso, stock exchange plunge

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"We will reverse yesterday's bad result and we will have a closer election" in the October 27 first round, Macri said, flaked by vice presidential candidate Miguel Angel Pichetto.

The currency had hit an all-time low on Monday of 65 to the dollar, a drop of 30 per cent, on fears that a Fernandez government could take Argentina back to interventionist economic policies.

Fernandez's lead far exceeded the margin of 2-8 percentage points forecast in recent opinion polls.

Meanwhile, the Buenos Aires stock exchange tumbled by nearly 38 percent on Monday as markets reacted following Mauricio Macri's defeat in the party primaries over the weekend, AP reported.

Argentine stocks were among the top losers on the Nasdaq index, and the local Merval stock index closed 31% weaker.

Macri has convened a government meeting after losing Sunday primaries and ordered the ministers to analyze the necessary changes in governance and develop a strategy to prevent a sharp fall in the rate of the national currency. Investors nonetheless see the Fernandez/Kirchner duo as a riskier prospect than free-markets advocate Macri.

"We'll have to double our efforts ahead of the October election".

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Argentina's credit default swap - or the cost of hedging bonds against sovereign default - soared to a multiyear high.

Fernandez can also avoid a run-off if he wins with 40% with a lead of at least 10 percentage points over his closest challengers. An IMF delegation is flying to Argentina supposedly to meet government officials and representatives of the winning opposition "Frente de Todos", (Everybody's Front).

Kirchner imposed strict currency controls that slammed investment during her 2007-2015 administration. The country's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro warned on Monday that his country could see a wave of migrants fleeing Argentina if leftists were to return to power in presidential elections. She feuded with the country's key farm sector over export taxes and presided over a multi-year standoff with bondholders that kept Argentina locked out of the worldwide capital markets.

Voters were given a stark choice to stay the course of painful austerity measures under Macri or return to economic policies that are heavy on state involvement.

More than 75 percent of Argentina's over 33,800,000 eligible voters turned out to vote on Sunday.

Analysts predicted Sunday's results could be the final nail in the coffin for Macri. "Additional promises can be made, but the gap he needs to make up is a very wide one", said Ilya Gofshteyn, senior emerging markets strategist at Standard Chartered Bank. "I'm just a candidate, my pen doesn't sign decrees", Fernandez said in an interview with Argentine TV channel Net TV broadcast on Monday.

Bolsonaro has cast himself as foe to the left-wing leaders around Latin America and celebrated his friendship with Macri.

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