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ECONOMY | 01-12-2021 17:05

Argentine officials to meet IMF in Washington over record deal

After little progress over the past two years, Argentina is hoping to ramp up negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a new programme.

Officials from Argentina's government will travel to Washington on Saturday to advance talks with the International Monetary Fund over a new financing programme.

A delegation of technical officials will aim “to continue advancing in technical understandings,” with IMF staff, according to a statement issued by the Economy Ministry on Wednesday.

An IMF spokeswoman also confirmed the upcoming meetings, which come after more than a year of talks over a new plan without little to show.

The officials travelling include Argentina's representative to the IMF, Sergio Chodos, Economic Policy Secretary Fernando Morra, Finance Undersecretary Ramiro Tosi and Treasury Secretary Raúl Rigo, according to a government official who asked to speak on condition anonymity because the list hasn't been made public. From the Central Bank, Jorge Carrera and German Feldman will also attend. 

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán and Central Bank President Miguel Ángel Pesce are not expected to participate in the meeting. 

After little progress over the past two years, Argentina is expected to ramp up negotiations ahead of a multiyear economic plan that President Alberto Fernández said he would send to Congress in December. The plan is expected to include “initial understandings” with the IMF that would serve as the basis for a deal with the lender. A precise date for when it will be submitted hasn’t been set yet. 

The next few weeks are critical to shaping Argentina’s near- and medium-term outlook. President Alberto Fernández expects to submit a new economic plan to Congress in early December. This should illuminate how the government intends to tackle high inflation, fiscal insolvency and unstable growth," said Adriana Dupita, Bloomberg's Latin America economist.

Fernández wants to postpone over US$40 billion in payments due from a record bailout given to the previous government of Mauricio Macri in 2018. However, he’s stalled on outlining a credible economic programme, facing resistance from within his broad ruling Frente de Todos coalition. 

While the government continues negotiations, it intends to make a principal payment to the IMF of US$1.8 billion due on December 22, said Cecilia Todesca, Argentina’s secretary for international economic relations on Tuesday.

by Patrick Gillespie & Jorgelina do Rosario, Bloomberg

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