Manager of Franklin Templeton's flagship $38bn AUM Templeton Global Bond fund Michael Hasenstab has reportedly purchased more than three-quarters of $3bn Argentine "Bote" government bonds made available in May.
Argentina is understood to have reopened the five-year and eight-year Bote bonds for sale after being approached by Franklin Templeton, which already owned about half of the two bonds, with the purchase likely making the asset manager Argentina's single biggest creditor, according to the FT.
Hasenstab, who provided similar support to Ireland in the aftermath of the eurozone, paid more than $2.25bn in a discrete cash infusion for the bonds.
Argentina has seen its currency tumble to a record low following a change to its inflation target and a central bank rate cut earlier this year, which dented confidence in its new government led by President Mauricio Macri.
The country sought the help of the International Monetary Fund earlier this month in the form of a rescue package from the intergovernmental organisation.
Speaking to Bloomberg on 15 May, Argentina's finance minister Luis Caputo said: "You can't get a bigger sign of confidence from markets when you place a bond in pesos at a fixed rate on one of the worst days in emerging markets this year.
"It is a sign of confidence in President Macri, and the policies he is putting in place."
In a February blog post on Franklin Templeton's website, Hasenstab was bullish on Argentina's capacity to reverse its recent economic woes.
He said that prior to the election of Macri's administration in Argentina, "the president used the central bank basically as a piggy bank", and the country was now moving towards "more orthodox governance, less manipulation of markets and has social cohesion and a buy-in for this process".
"That's a country that can likely weather a 200-basis-point hike from the Fed," he added.
"They passed tremendously difficult and unpopular pension reforms that used a lot of political capital, but I think President Macri was very wise in using that political capital two years before the next election, so he has time to kind of rebuild it.
"I think the next couple of years are not about these big pension reforms, they are about the micro reforms, just undoing all of the regulations and administrative problems that have been created through decades of mismanagement and just trying to wash those out and let the economy function.
"I think a lot can be done and the president has a very strong team. I think there's a good agenda on sort of a political realism, but also on doing a lot of the things that are necessary and his party and he, in this last sort of mid-term election, did very well, which shows a lot of support for him and his administration."
Franklin Templeton declined to comment.
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