Sunday, February 16, 2020
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ECONOMY | 20-01-2020 14:49

Debt-load tops the agenda as Guzmán heads for New York

Economy Minister Martin Guzmán will take his first trip abroad later this week, as he flies into the US for an event hosted by the Council of the Americas.

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán will head to New York later next week for a visit that will be dominated by Argentina's heavy debt-load.

The trip is expected to be watched closely by financial markets and bondholders.

Invited by the Council of the Americas, Guzmán will take part in a conference in New York on January 28, at which he will detail President Alberto Fernández's economic plan and discuss how the government intends to restructure its debt repayments.

Thereafter, he will address an exclusive audience of investors, bankers and businessmen, who are waiting for first-hand information on the country's outlook and future plans.

Guzmán's trip to the United States will also include bilateral meetings with international banks, investment funds and bondholders, given the current economic situation in Argentina.

The government's strategy is to reach an agreement with private creditors that would ease the pressure on deadlines and repayments. Last week, Fernández indicated that there was a March 31 deadline for debt restructuring, which would include talks over the nation's US$44-billion debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In December, the government passed an emergency economic legislative package which gave President Fernández extra powers to tackle the crisis as it tries to put Argentina's fiscal accounts in order and put together a proposal for debtors.

Initial signs have been good for the government – last week, the IMF's new chief said it was ready to work with Buenos Aires to find a sustainable solution to the crisis.

"We have had very constructive interactions so far with the new leadership in Argentina. I spoke with the president, with the economy minister and now with the staff working with the Argentina team," said International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva, speaking from Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum (WEF), which begins this Monday.

"We are looking to do what we can to help Argentina. We agree with the need to restore the economy and address the increase in poverty that has negatively affected many Argentines," the official said from the Swiss ski resort.

Georgieva and Guzmán may soon cross paths in Rome. The IMF's managing director has confirmed she will participate in the meeting convened by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on February 5 at the Vatican. Guzmán is also expected to participate in the event, which will take place just a few days after Fernández meets with Pope Francis at the Holy See.

– TIMES/PERFIL

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