Argentina president hopes for IMF deal ‘as soon as possible’
Buenos Aires, Oct 5 (AFP/APP):Argentina President Alberto Fernandez said on Sunday he hoped to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to refinance a $44 billion loan “as soon as possible.”
His announcement comes ahead of the arrival Tuesday of an IMF mission to focus on the country’s debt restructuring. “I have had many conversations in this time with Kristalina Georgieva,” Fernandez told the newspaper Clarin, referring to the IMF chief. “I have the impression that she sees better than anyone the difficulties that exist in Argentina.”
Fernandez said an agreement with the Washington-based crisis lender is “basically necessary to give the economy predictability.” An understanding “clears up many doubts, which I do not have, but that some sectors of the economy do,” he said. “What I hope is that we continue working as well as we have done up to now, that we can find quick answers to the concerns they have and that we can reach an agreement, a program as soon as possible,” he added.
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After assuming the presidency last December, Fernandez put repayments on hold and renounced outstanding tranches of the bailout, saying Argentina already had enough debt. After defaulting on its debt in May for the ninth time in history, Fernandez’s government in late August reached a deal with foreign creditors to restructure $66 billion in debt after months of tense negotiations, giving it $37.7 billion in relief. Once a deal seemed assured, Buenos Aires formally opened consultations with the IMF to agree new terms on the repayment of a $44 billion bailout loan agreed in 2018.
After the deal was signed, economy minister Martin Guzman said the next step will be to reach an agreement with the IMF for a new credit program. The IMF announced in late September that it will carry out a mission on Argentina’s debt restructuring, after talks on a new accord resumed last month. The mission will be composed of western hemisphere deputy director Julie Kozack, mission chief for Argentina Luis Cubeddu and the IMF’s resident Argentina representative Trevor Alleyn.
Argentina’s troubles have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than a third of the country’s population of 44 million living in poverty. Inflation stands at 40 percent and the IMF expects Latin America’s third largest economy to shrink 10 percent this year.
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