Argentina ETF Tumbles After Primary Election

ARGT sank by as much as 8% Monday.

sumit
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Senior ETF Analyst
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Reviewed by: Lisa Barr
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Edited by: Sean Allocca

The biggest U.S.-listed ETF tied to Argentina briefly fell by its largest amount since 2020 Monday. The $72 million Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (ARGT) sank by as much as 8% before paring its losses to around 1%.

The catalyst for the volatility? A surprise primary election result that showed Javier Milei, a libertarian candidate in Argentina’s presidential election, grabbing more votes than any of his rivals. The primary vote comes ahead of the general election on Oct. 22.

Judging from the initial downside move in ARGT, some investors are apprehensive that a Milei victory could be bad news for Argentina’s economy.

The candidate has proposed to “cut spending drastically, lift currency and price controls and ‘blow up’ the central bank,” according to The Economist.

But while markets usually don’t like surprises, and any radical changes to the economy would likely lead to pain in the short term, Milei’s policies could usher in stronger growth for Argentina long term, according to his supporters.

After all, the South American nation is hardly known for its smooth and consistent economic performance. Inflation in Argentina is currently running in the triple digits, while the economy has experienced six recessions over the past 10 years.

In that context, perhaps the bold reforms Milei is proposing are worth considering.

Uncertainty Reigns for Argentina ETF

Ultimately, that will be for voters to decide. A Milei victory is by no means guaranteed. While he captured 30% of the vote in the primary election, candidates for the left-leaning incumbent party were close behind, with 27% of the vote.

Another two candidates representing right-leaning interests were in the mix as well, with a combined 28% of the vote.

October’s election results could be a big mover of ARGT in the short term, but much of the ETF’s success (or failure) could come from forces outside of Argentina.

The ETF’s largest holding, the e-commerce giant MercadoLibre, generates most of its revenues in Brazil. That company alone makes up 20% of ARGT’s portfolio and was responsible for more than half of the ETF’s gains over the past decade.

Indeed, ARGT holds a very concentrated portfolio of only 24 stocks, which means the fortunes of a handful of individual companies will go a long way in driving the ETF’s returns.

While domestic politics will certainly impact many of those stocks, it might not be the most significant factor in determining their success, and by extension, the success of ARGT.

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for etf.com, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining etf.com, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for etf.com, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of etf.com’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.