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WORLD | 03-01-2024 08:56

IMF to visit Argentina amid expectation of new agreement

The IMF's press office confirmed the meeting for Thursday. Nicolás Posse and Luis Caputo will lead talks.

International Monetary Fund officials are coming to Argentina this week amid growing expectations that President Javier Milei’s administration is close to signing a deal to put the US$44-billion programme with the Washington-based lender back on track.

The delegation will arrive in Buenos Aires on Thursday, Presidential Spokesman Manuel Adorni said during a news conference Tuesday. The two sides are already nearing an agreement on the seventh staff-level review, Reuters reported, citing three unnamed sources. 

The IMF’s press office confirmed the meeting, adding that Argentina is exercising its right to bundle payments due to the lender in January for the end of the month. But neither the Fund nor Milei’s office commented on the possibility of an imminent deal.

Milei’s Cabinet Chief Nicolas Posse and Economy Minister Luis Caputo will lead talks with IMF’s Luis Cubeddu and Ashvin Ahuja. Argentina must pay the Fund nearly US$2.6 billion in debt maturities in January and February. 

It’ll be the first in-person meetings between Milei’s administration and IMF staff since the libertarian leader took office December 10, though Caputo and Posse met with IMF leadership in Washington during the transition period. 

The mere presence of an IMF delegation in Argentina signals a change of tone between Milei and his predecessor, Alberto Fernández, who almost entirely held talks outside the country while criticising the institution in public. A formal visit often signals that talks are in advanced stages. 

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva applauded Milei’s first economic measures, which included announcements of sharp spending cuts this year and a 54 percent currency devaluation, calling them “an important step toward restoring stability and rebuilding the country’s economic potential.”

Argentina’s agreement, the largest on the IMF’s balance sheet, veered off course during Fernández’s administration as his economic team delayed talks and routinely missed key targets in the programme, though continued receiving IMF disbursements.  

In a recent TV interview with La Nación, Milei said the IMF will support his austerity-driven economic plan. 

“The Fund sees us as heroes,” Milei said. “We’re working to comply with the agreement.”


– TIMES/BLOOMBERG

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