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ECONOMY | 03-07-2019 10:23

Lagarde departure will not alter Argentina relationship, says ex-IMF official

The Mauricio Macri government signed a US$56-billion 'stand-by' loan deal with the IMF in June, 2018. Macri's opponents say the conditions of the deal must be renegotiated.

A former high-ranking official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday insisted the entity's relationship with Argentina would not change under new leadership, with Managing Director Christine Lagarde set to step down immediately.

"There will be no changes on the Fund's part regarding Argentina", former Director of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department Claudio Loser said in an interview Argentina's Radio La Red. Loser led the department during Argentina's historic 2001 debt default.

The IMF "has its own structure" and anyone who works for the entity "cannot change course so easily", he explained.

Lagarde will take over control of the European Central Bank from Mario Draghi on November 1.

"Lagarde quit and it was unexpected. It is a very important change for her in her careeer. There are no political elements [behind her decision]", Loser said.

David Lipton will take up Lagarde's position until a replacement is determined.

Lipton "has worked with Lagarde since 2011... If she knows the country well, so does he", Loser insisted.

"Lipton is an economists, with a harder position, but he's pragmatic. I don't think [Legarde] would have left him to the side of negotiations" with Argentina, he explained.

Argentina will go to the polls in October for general and presidential elections in which President Mauricio Macri is expected to face an uphill battle for re-election. His government signed a US$56-billion "stand-by" loan with the Fund in June, 2018. Macri's opponents say the conditions of the deal must be renegotiated.

In May, Loser told the Financial Times: “Lagarde has really gone out on a limb for this programme and has been supporting it wholeheartedly.” A failed programme, he added, would lead to a “loss of credibility”.


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