Sunday, September 26, 2021

ECONOMY | 10-12-2019 23:27

IMF chief says Fund remains committed to Argentina

Kristalina Georgieva says International Monetary Fund remains committed to Argentina as President Alberto Fernández is sworn in as new leader.

The International Monetary Fund remains committed to Argentina and its recovery, its managing director said Tuesday, in the wake of President Alberto Fernández's swearing-in as head of state.

"We fully share its objectives of continuing with policies that reduce poverty and promote sustainable growth. The IMF remains committed to assisting its government in this effort," Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the IMF, said in a post on Twitter.

The Frente de Todos leader sent a pretty clear message to the Fund in his inaugural speech as president, saying that he had the will to pay off Argentina's debt but not the means to honour the payments. Fernández also said he would prioritise the fight against hunger and poverty over outstanding debt.

The 60-year-old lawyer and university professor assumed office on Tuesday with Argentina's economy is heading for a second year of contraction, with gross domestic domestic expected to reduce by 3.1 percent in 2019, according to the IMF.

President Mauricio Macri won the support of a record US$57-billion credit-line with the IMF in 2018. Argentina has received around US$44 billion of that money to date, attempting to deal with the impact of a sharp devaluation of the peso against the dollar. In return for the loan, the Macri administration committed to austerity measures to reduce its fiscal debt.

Fernández's new government – Cabinet members were signed in this afternoon at around 5pm local time – will have to deal with around $313 billion of deb overall, with maturities on capital and interest due in 2020. Around 16.4 percent of Argentina's debt is owed to multilateral and bilateral organisations, AFP reported this week citing Finance Ministry data, adding that some 62 percent was dollar-denominated.

In his inaugural speech, Fernandez said that the outgoing government had left the nation in a "situation of virtual default." 


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