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ECONOMY | 05-09-2018 18:56

Government denies reports it is seeking extra funding from US, IMF

Dujovne denies reports Macri administration is seeking additional funding from the IMF, US Treasury.

Argentina is not seeking other sources of financing outside the International Monetary Fund for help in curbing an economic crisis, Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne confirmed Wednesday.

He said the government has only asked the IMF for early disbursements in emergency funding from a US$50-billion loan approved earlier this year.

Dujovne has been meeting with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Washington. He said they have made great progress and expect to reach a deal in late September.

He declined to provide details, though he denied reports that Argentina is negotiating a credit line with the US Treasury or searching for other sources of financing outside the IMF.

"I have enormous confidence in the progress that we've made these days," Dujovne said at a press conference in Washington after his second day of talks with the IMF.

Argentina is suffering from one of the world's highest inflation rates and a currency crisis that has seen the peso depreciate by more than 50 percent so far this year.

Trump backing

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he backs President Mauricio Macri and his government's handling of the crisis, which saw a series of austerity measures and tax alterations announced this week.

Macri said the situation was "an emergency."

The tumbling peso has added to the country's inflation, which is now expected to reach an annual rate of more than 40 percent according to private estimates.

Economic analysts expect Argentina to plunge into a deeper recession and forecast even higher consumer prices and a weaker currency.

In a temporary relief to the embattled government, the peso strengthened Wednesday to close at about 39 pesos per US dollar, compared to 39.50 a day earlier.

"The reformulation of the [IMF] programme will help us leave behind these days of anguish and volatility and will slowly allow the opening of credit to Argentina," Dujovne said. "It will open the doors to private financing and that way we will be able to get back on the path of growth."

- TIMES/AP

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