Argentina's economy chief names new energy secretary

·1 min read

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's economy chief Sergio Massa appointed on Sunday a new head of the energy secretariat, which in recent years has doled out multi-million dollar subsidies that have led to a widening budget deficit.

Flavia Royon, who most recently oversaw energy affairs in the northern province of Salta, will be tasked with trying to cut subsidies to alleviate Argentina's fiscal deficit, which has led to a depreciation of the peso currency and soaring inflation that is expected to surpass 90% this year.

"Everyone's objective must be our energy sovereignty and the transformation of Argentina into a leader in this area," said Massa, who took office on Wednesday, in a Tweet.

Massa also appointed Federico Bernal as Undersecretary of Hydrocarbons.

Massa's political acumen is widely seen as key to rescuing Argentina's economy, which has been ravaged by sky-high inflation, crippling debt and chronic overspending.

The "super minister," as some call him, announced a series of fiscal austerity measures and moves designed to boost dwindling foreign reserves in his first day on the job.

(Reporting by Nicolás Misculin; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)