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ECONOMY | 21-08-2023 08:40

Argentina’s Massa heads to US for talks with IMF on loans

Sergio Massa will travel to the United States on Monday for talks with the International Monetary Fund on the country’s refinancing disbursements amid the peso’s devaluation. 

Argentina’s economic minister and presidential candidate Sergio Massa will travel to the United States on Monday for talks with the International Monetary Fund on the country’s refinancing disbursements amid the peso’s devaluation. 

Massa will meet with IMF and US officials in his two-day trip to Washington DC, according to state radio. Argentina is set to receive a US$7.5-billion disbursement by the end of August if the IMF executive board approves the country’s staff-level agreement. 

The minister is to hold meetings on AugUST 22 with the World Bank’s managing director for operations, Anna Bjerde; Interamerican Development Bank President Ilan Goldfajn, and US Treasury officials Jay Shambaugh and Michael Kaplan. Massa will meet IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and US Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Brian Nichols on August 23. 

The talks follow political outsider Javier Milei’s primary victory on August 13, which prompted the government to respond with a dramatic policy shift, devaluing the peso by almost 18 percent and boosting key interest rates. 

The devaluation was a move economists said was long overdue but ultimately insufficient to fix Argentina’s distorted economy. What’s more, it led shops to hike prices by 20% overnight, fueling inflation that’s already in triple digits.

IMF staff held meetings Friday with Milei’s economic advisers, as well as those of his main contender Patricia Bullrich. It remains to be seen if Milei can hold on to his lead in the polls ahead of the first round of voting on Oct. 22. Milei only led the more market friendly opposition candidates by 1.8 percentage points in last week’s vote.

by Fabiola Zerpa & Manuela Tobias, Bloomberg

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