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ECONOMY | 13-09-2018 09:56

IMF officials arrive in Argentina for next round of crisis loan talks

IMF delegation lands in Buenos Aires to 'continue discussions with the Argentine authorities,' says global lender.

Officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have arrived in Argentina as part of talks to strengthen and accelerate a crisis loan package, the global lender said Wednesday.

The IMF and Buenos Aires agreed in June on a three-year, US$50-billion rescue lending programme but President Mauricio Macri's government has since asked for a more rapid disbursement.

Buenos Aires has to date received US$15 billion so far but any changes will require the approval of the IMF board.

"An IMF team led by Mr. Roberto Cardarelli is currently in Buenos Aires to continue discussions with the Argentine authorities to further strengthen Argentina's IMF-backed programme," an IMF spokesman said in a statement.

"Fund staff will be working intensively, in collaboration with the government, to identify how the IMF can best support Argentina in the face of renewed financial volatility and a challenging economic environment."

Economy Minister Nicolás Dujovne, who is leading talks with the IMF, has denied reports that Buenos Aires is seeking additional funding beyond the amount already agreed to.

Cardarelli reportedly held meetings with government officials on Wednesday, though not with Dujovne, who was hospitalised overnight earlier on in the week.

President Macri is under increasing pressure as the peso has plunged – despite intervention from the Central Bank – and the recession worsens.

And he is facing growing opposition from the public for seeking help from the IMF, which has a bitter history in the country and is blamed for the economic woes.

On Tuesday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde gave an interview in which she warned that the Macri administration would have to commit to reforms.

"If the president includes serious reforms in his plan, then we will see, we will evaluate the impact on the macroeconomic situation 
of Argentina, determine the sustainability of the debt and work with them," she said.

- AFP

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