Some critics have chastised the IMF, and Lagarde, for once again providing huge amounts of financing for Buenos Aires, only to see the familiar pattern experienced in prior crises of failed or delayed reforms and soaring inflation.
Lagarde acknowledged that Argentina is "clearly in a difficult situation at the moment," but said the IMF program managed to stabilize the situation for a time, even though inflation remained a "sore point."
"What would have happened had we had we not been there, had we done nothing," she said, "I think it would have been a lot worse. There's no question in my mind about that."
The government has received about US$44 billion so far of the three-year loan approved in June 2018 but soaring inflation and rising poverty stirred outrage at the government's belt-tightening measures.
President Mauricio Macri suffered a stinging defeat in a primary election at the hands of populist challenger Alberto Fernández, which once again whipped up market volatility in the recession-hit nation and undermined the currency.
Finance Minister Hernán Lacunza in late August asked the IMF to restructure the country's repayments, and announced initiatives to postpone debt service to institutional investors, relieving the pressure on international reserves so they can be used to stabilise the currency.