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ARGENTINA | 18-03-2022 21:59

President Fernández hails 'historic' congressional backing for IMF deal

Peronist leader unveils his "war on inflation" as he vows to tackle runaway price increases in wake of agreement with International Monetary Fund.

President Alberto Fernandez on Friday hailed the congressional approval of his government's agreement with the International Monetary Fund, declaring that it would help tackle runaway inflation in Argentina.

"It has been a historic moment, for the first time the refinancing of a debt with the IMF is being discussed and approved in Congress," Fernández said in a recorded message from the Olivos presidential residence as he announced a host of measures against inflation, which is currently running at more than 50 percent a year.

"Never again will a president be able to get into debt behind the backs of the Argentine people," he said.

The Senate on Thursday approved the government's US$45-billion agreement with the IMF to restructure the record US$57-billion Stand-By loan agreed in 2018 by ex-president Mauricio Macri.

Among other measures, Fernández announced the creation of a "stabilisation fund" to decouple prices from international prices at a time when the world is experiencing a sharp rise in commodity prices as a consequence of Russia's war against Ukraine.

Argentina's consumer price index rose 4.7 per cent in February, with a 7.5 percent increase in food prices. Inflation over the last year totals 52.3 percent – one of the highest rates in the world.

"Inflation is a historical phenomenon in Argentina, almost a curse," said Fernández.

The president called on all economic and social sectors to work together to confront "a recurring impasse from which it seems impossible to get out."

"The agreement with the IMF allows us to begin to put in order the central macroeconomic variables in the fight against inflation," he said.

He also argued that it will help "Argentina to have more reserves and calm expectations of devaluation."

To enter into force, the agreement endorsed by Argentina's Congress must now be approved by the IMF's board of directors in Washington.

 

– TIMES/AFP

 

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