9 de diciembre de 2015 / 17:14 / en 2 años

Argentine cenbank chief willing to quit, under pressure to stay: source

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Argentine central bank chief Alejandro Vanoli is willing to resign ahead of Thursday’s inauguration of President-elect Mauricio Macri but is under pressure from the outgoing government to stay in his post, a central bank source said on Wednesday.

Vanoli’s resignation would pave the way for Macri to press ahead with unwinding capital controls and unifying the exchange rate, a central plank of his campaign promise to liberalize Latin America’s third biggest economy.

Vanoli is a trusted ally of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez and has criticized Macri’s monetary policy plans, which he says will lead to a sharp devaluation and a spike in inflation.

His mandate ends in 2019 but he has said he will not stand in Macri’s way if the new president insists on a sharp weakening of the peso currency.

“He knows that the most logical thing to do is resign because he will find himself on a collision course with Macri’s decisions, but he is facing pressure from the government which doesn’t want to do the incoming government a favor,” said the source who is familiar with Vanoli’s thinking.

Vanoli could not be reached for comment.

Relations between Fernandez and Macri ahead of the handover of power have fallen to such a low ebb that top government officials say Fernandez will not attend the inauguration ceremony.

Vanoli declared last week that he would make an announcement on his future within days, saying that he would likely make his statement over the weekend. But he remained silent.

Argentina’s financial markets expect him to step down and traders say it is just a question of timing.

Macri, who narrowly won a runoff election on Nov. 22, wants to appoint respected economist and congressman Federico Sturzenegger as central bank chief.

The central bank source said that Vanoli and Sturzenegger were meeting on Wednesday.

“At the markets close there may be an announcement,” the source said.

Argentina’s stock exchange is the last market in the country to close, at 5 p.m. (2000 GMT).

Currency reform can probably only begin once a new bank president takes office and it is clear there will be a sufficient supply of dollars, Macri’s nominee for finance minister said over the weekend. (Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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