Argentine bonds are posting the worst rout in emerging marketson concern the government is absent as foreign reserves sink,inflation soars, and the peso depreciates.

The nation's debt has lost 7.5 percent since Dec. 19, the lastday that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner appeared inpublic after she had an operation to remove a blood clot near herbrain in October. Developing-nation bonds have gained an average of 0.9 percentin the same period.

During Fernandez's absence, Argentina's foreign reserves havetumbled to a seven-year low, the black-market peso has lost 17percent against the dollar, and inflation has quickened to 28percent, the fastest in at least two years. Her disappearance frompublic view is fueling speculation that the government has no planto confront a looming balance-of-payments crisis, according toGuillermo Calvo, an economist at Columbia University in NewYork.

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