Argentina’s Stock Market Decline Is Among the World’s Worst Since 1950

Despite Monday’s drop, Argentine stocks have performed better than those in Pakistan and Oman this year.

A woman walks past a currency exchange board in Buenos Aires on Aug. 12.
A woman walks past a currency exchange board in Buenos Aires on Aug. 12. Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Argentina’s main stock market plummeted 48 percent in U.S. dollar terms on Monday. The S&P Merval’s fall was the second-largest drop of any major stock index tracked by Bloomberg since 1950.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s wider-than-expected margin of defeat in primary elections Sunday by his center-left rival, Alberto Fernández, sent shock waves through the Argentine stock market. The conservative Macri is known for championing austerity and freer markets as solutions to Argentina’s recession.

The country has a long history of fiscal crises. As seen in the chart below, two of the five worst stock market drops since 1950 occurred in Argentina.

Largest Stock Market Plunges Since 1950

The only country that suffered a larger drop in U.S. dollar terms is Sri Lanka, which in 1989 was mired in civil war.

But despite yesterday’s drop, Argentina’s Merval is only down 9.12 percent in 2019 to date. The key indices in Pakistan and Oman have performed worse this year.

Worst Performing Markets in 2019

Index Country YTD
KSE100 Pakistan -20.61%
MSM30 Oman -10.69%
MERVAL Argentina -9.12%
WIG20 Poland -7.33%
IPSA Chile -5.44%
KOSPI South Korea -4.84%

As of Aug. 12 close. Source: Bloomberg

C.K. Hickey is the interactives and features designer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @seekayhickey