Argentina’s government is debating whether to seek a new loan from the International Monetary Fund under the framework of its new Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST), according to reports.
The fund, which grants credit to help countries ensure growth is sustainable, would be able to approve a request capped at US$1.3 billion, Reuters reported on Thursday. Argentina is likely to broach the topic with the IMF next month during talks in Washington between Fund officials and Economy Minister Sergio Massa, the news agency said, though any formal request is only able to be put in from October.
The IMF executive board approved the launch of the RST back in April with the programme due to start in October. Under its rules, low-income and vulnerable middle-income countries can apply for financing (delivered by special drawing rights) to tackle long-term challenges such as climate change. Any maturities on the loan come over 20 years with a 10-year grace period.
Trip to Washington
Massa, a veteran politician who assumed office in July, is expected to travel with his team to the United States in early September. IMF officials are due to face another quarterly review of its record US$44.5-billion Extended Fund Facility programme.
The new minister will stop in Wasington and Houston, seeking investments for Argentina’s economy and ways to strengthen the Central Bank reserves.
Massa is set to hold meetings with representatives from top firms including Chevron, Exxon, Shell and Total, automobile firm Volkswagen, mining companies Rio Tinto and Livent (Lithium) and the Amazon group.
In Washington, the minister will meet with US President Joe Biden's coordinator for Infrastructure, Investment and Energy, Amos Hochstein as well as the president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Mauricio Claver Carone, the Managing Director of the World Bank, Axel van Trotsenburg, and with authorities from the US Treasury Department, with whom he will make progress on the tax information exchange agreement, according to sources from the economic portfolio.
While talking to the directors of the World Bank and the IDB, Massa will try to speed up the disbursement of loans for infrastructure and productive projects, sources say. In the US capitol he will launch, together with Tourism & Sports Minister Matías Lammens, a new programme to promote valuable tourism that can bring in foreign exchange.
In total, Massa is due to meet with company executives from some 20 US companies that currently have productive investments in Argentina, under the framework of a meeting coordinated by the US Chamber of Commerce and Argentina’s Embassy in Washington.
On the political side, Massa will meet with Juan González, Biden's advisor for Latin America in the National Security Council, with the president of the American Jewish Congress, Jack Rosen, as well as with the director of the American Jewish Committee, Dina Siegel Vann.
On Friday, September 9, the minister will travel to Houston together with Energy Secretary Flavia Royón and the presidents of YPF, Pablo González, and Enarsa, Agustín Gerez, for meetings with executives from oil companies Chevron, Exxon, Shell and Total.
Finally, a working meeting with IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva is planned, at which Massa will be accompanied by Leonardo Madcur, Lisandro Cleri and Marco Lavagna, the president of the Banco Nación. Former economy minister Silvina Batakis, who he replaced in office, could also join him.