IMF to discuss loan status with Argentina Finance Minister

WASHINGTON (AFP) – International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials will meet with the economic team from crisis-hit Argentina later this month to review the status of the country’s massive loan programme, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday.

That meeting will allow officials to discuss recent steps taken to stabilise the country’s economy and shore up the currency, after the hit suffered following centre-right President Mauricio Macri’s defeat in a primary election last month.

Economy Minister Hernan Lacunza “will come here in late September and we will have those discussions and decide on next steps and future discussions,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.

The IMF engagement with Argentina “remains strong,” Rice said. But he acknowledged that “the ongoing uncertainty makes the situation even more difficult”.

To calm market turbulence, the government in late August asked the IMF to restructure its repayments on the record USD57 billion loan from the Washington-based crisis lender.

The government has received about USD44 billion so far of the three-year loan approved in June 2018, but soaring inflation and rising poverty stirred outrage at the government’s belt-tightening measures.

The defeat of business-friendly Macri at the hands of populist challenger Alberto Fernandez once again whipped up market volatility in the recession-hit nation.