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ECONOMY | 04-12-2020 13:07

Government officials to meet IMF in Washington in 'coming days'

Government officials will meet with staff from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) soon to continue talks on a new aid programme, a Fund spokesman said Thursday.

Government officials will meet with staff from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) soon to continue talks on a new aid programme, a Fund spokesman said Thursday.

An IMF team opened talks with Buenos Aires last month, and officials made "good progress in defining the initial elements" of a loan programme, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters. 

Discussions are "very fluid and constructive," and a team from the Economy Ministry "is indeed coming to Washington... for meetings in the coming days," Rice said, but there is no timeline for a final agreement.

Even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Argentina was facing a severe economic crisis despite massive aid in recent years from the Washington-based crisis lender.

The coronavirus crisis exacerbated already high unemployment and poverty rates, and President Alberto Fernández's government is aiming to renegotiate repayments on a US$44-billion loan received from the IMF in 2018. 

Argentina has been in recession since that year, and the IMF projects GDP will contract nearly 12 percent in 2020 while poverty has already soared to over 40 percent.

– TIMES/AFP

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