Buenos Aires Times

economy after 15-year absence

Expectations grow over IMF chief Christine Lagarde’s visit to Argentina

Onlookers say the Mauricio Macri administration will request IMF loans to the tune of US$ 10 billion.

Friday 16 March, 2018
International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde attends a press conference at the UK Treasury in central London on December 20, 2017.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde attends a press conference at the UK Treasury in central London on December 20, 2017. Foto:AFP-Stefan Rousseau

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International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde visits Argentina this week where expectations are high about a conclusive new start for the country's relationship with the IMF and other international financial institutions.

Onlookers and economists are predicting that the Mauricio Macri administration will request IMF loans to the tune of US$ 10 billion when Lagarde and her team sit down with national government ministers.

It would be the first time since 2001 that Argentina accesses IMF financing.

It is believed that the five-year loan package for countries struggling to secure international financing will come at a cost of an annual interest rate of 4.5 percent, which is far less than what the government pays on dollar-denominated bonds in the financial sector.

Lagarde will hold meetings with President Mauricio Macri, Finance Minister Luis Caputo, Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne, Central Bank Chief Federico Sturzenegger, and Finance ministers of the G20, of which Argentina is the current presiding nation.

Lagarde will also give a speech at the Di Tella University in Belgrano.

The IMF chief will become the first to visit Argentina since Rodrigo Rato in 2004 and Horst Köhler before him in 2003.

Köhler’s visit coincided with tensions surrounding then president Néstor Kirchner’s decision to settle a US$ 10 billion debt with the IMF.

Kirchner effectively banished the organisation from Buenos Aires in an attempt to weaken its influence in national economic policy, finally cancelling the debt in 2006.

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