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ECONOMY | 20-05-2023 08:47

Lula to send finance minister to China in push for Argentina aid

Brazil's push to support Argentina through its economic crisis set to continue in China.

Brazil's Finance Minister Fernando Haddad will travel to China to seek alternative forms of aid for Argentina, whose economy continues to suffer the consequences of spiralling inflation and severe drought.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has pledged to help Argentina as its economic crisis worsens, will send Haddad to Shanghai for a meeting of New Development Bank (NDB, formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank) members in late May, his press office announced Friday.

Haddad will try to push for talks to obtain new loans and financing for Argentina from the BRICS bloc of nations which, along with Brazil and China, also includes Russia, India and South Africa.

The so-called BRICS bank is currently headed by former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, who took over as executive director this year and will hold the first meeting of her term on May 30-31.

Argentina's Economy Minister Sergio Massa will travel to Beijing on May 29 to renew the country's foreign exchange swap line with China, which Argentina uses to finance some imports in a context of dollar shortages.

Lula has stepped up his efforts since Argentina's President Alberto Fernández, a leftist ally, made an emergency trip to Brasilia to ask for help earlier this month.

"I will make every sacrifice so that we can help Argentina in these difficult moments," Lula declared alongside Fernández during the May 2 visit.

He also said he had asked Chinese leader Xi Jinping for extra support during a trip to Beijing in April.

Argentina is currently negotiating with the International Monetary Fund to revise its US$44-billion programme and accelerate scheduledd disbursements, as the worst drought in its history aggravates its economic crisis.

During meetings of Group of Seven finance ministers held this month in Japan, Haddad discussed those plans with IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

"If Brazil and the US come together to support, things could be much easier for Argentina," Haddad said after the meetings.

Haddad also discussed Argentina during a meeting Tuesday in Brasilia with IMF Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath.

 

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by Simone Preissler Iglesias, Bloomberg

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