Tuesday, July 16, 2024

ARGENTINA | 10-07-2024 18:18

Argentina: No ‘formal’ talks with IMF over fresh funds

Presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni says that “there are talks” ongoing but that no “formal negotiations” over a specific funding programme to help the nation remove currency controls are ongoing.

Argentina’s government says there are no ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund over additional financing to help the nation remove its strict currency controls.

Speaking at a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Manuel Adorni contradicted previous remarks from officials that Javier Milei’s government is in talks with the IMF over a new funding stream.

Adorni said this week “formal negotiations” over a new agreement with additional financial backing in order to remove foreign exchange restrictions were not ongoing. “Only talks” had taken place, he added.

Argentina currently has a US$44.5-billion credit programme with the IMF, which provides it with fresh funds to make existing repayments on the condition that the nation’s quarterly accounts meet with approval.

Senior government officials, speaking anonymously, told reporters back in February that the IMF was open to a new programme and that talks had begun, though Economy Minister Luis Caputo later poured cold water on reports a deal is imminent.

In June, however, Caputo told business leaders at an event in Buenos Aires that Milei's government would seek a new deal, stating that negotiations would begin after the approval of Argentina's latest quarterly review.

Adorni was evasive as reporters pressed him this week on the stage of negotiations. Argentina’s exchange markets have become increasingly turbulent amid a lack of definition from the government on when it plans to remove the nation’s strict set of currency and capital controls, known locally as the “cepo.”

Milei’s chief spokesperson distanced himself from any time frame and did not provide answers for queries related to the President’s declaration this week that the cepo would remain until inflation levels reach close to zero.

Argentina has one of the highest annual inflation rates in the world, standing at an annual 270 percent. 

“We’re unfamiliar with timing. We’re doing what it takes for that to happen, but we do not know the term marked by the delay of economic policy from the moment you execute a measure until it has an impact on inflation,” said Adorni.

The spokesperson said that “foreign exchange restrictions will be lifted as soon as possible.”

He described them as “nasty and a symbol of lack of freedom.”

“It will be done in the short run and we’re all looking forward to it taking place as soon as possible because it’s essential to the growth of the Argentine economy,” said Adorni.


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