Argentina begins formal talks with IMF on new lending deal

2020-08-27 13:16

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BUENOS AIRES, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Argentina began formal talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday to negotiate a new lending agreement to replace the one signed in mid-2018 as part of a 56 billion-U.S. dollar bailout.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez and his Economy Minister Martin Guzman had spoken with IMF's managing director Kristalina Georgieva, "to begin negotiations aimed at reaching a new understanding with the agency," the Economy Ministry said in a statement.

Argentina acknowledged it needs the support of the IMF, but at the same time "President Fernandez stressed the need for the future (payment) program between Argentina and the IMF to respect the (government's) goals for economic recovery and solving the most pressing social problems," said the ministry.

The government also addressed a letter to Georgieva, signed by the president of the Central Bank of Argentina, Miguel Pesce, that outlined the country's current fiscal situation and need for economic recovery.

"We hope the talks and the new program do not repeat what the current administration considers to be the flawed budgets of the 2018 program. To that end, it is essential that an accurate assessment of Argentina's challenges be made," Pesce wrote.

Under the administration of ex-president Mauricio Macri, Argentina and the IMF in 2018 signed a standby loan agreement for more than 56.3 billion U.S. dollars -- the largest bailout in the IMF's history -- of which the country has received about 44.1 billion dollars.

After taking office, Fernandez's government froze the loan payments and began talks with private creditors to renegotiate the country's foreign debt, which had ballooned to more than 66 billion dollars.
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