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ECONOMY | 28-08-2019 22:50

IMF says it will 'stand with Argentina' amid restructuring request

"The Fund will continue to stand with Argentina during these challenging times," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement.

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that it will "stand with Argentina," after Finance Minister Hernán Lacunza asked for the restructuring of debt payments on the country's US$56 billion bail-out loan and other debt with private creditors.

"The Fund will continue to stand with Argentina during these challenging times," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement, adding that the institution was analyzing and assessing the impact of the announcement made Wednesday by local officials. 

On Wednesday, the government asked the IMF to help "reprofile" the maturities of its debt with the agency. The government has received some US$44 billion of the total package to date.  

Macri was defeated in primaries held on August 11 in the lead-up to the October presidential elections, with Peronist opposition  candidate Alberto Fernández now favourite to win the race for the Casa Rosada.

After the primaries, the IMF sent a team to Argentina led by economist Roberto Cardarelli to analyze the "recent economic and financial events and government policy plans."

The IMF reported Wednesday that the team held "productive" talks with Finance Minister Lacunza, and with the president of the Central Bank, Guido Sandleris. 

"The IMF staff also met with Mr. Alberto Fernández and members of his economic team to exchange views on the Argentine economy," Rice said.

This week's visit is not part of the audit schedule for the loan agreement, with a new disbursement due in September.

Michael Shifter, an expert at the Inter-American Dialogue Center, based in Washington, said that the IMF was unlikely to leave Argentina at this time. 

"If you decide to withhold disbursements, then Argentina will not pay the IMF and the country's finances would run a considerable risk to the next government," Shifter told AFP. 

- TIMES/AFP

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