Wednesday, July 24, 2024

ECONOMY | 05-07-2023 13:03

Argentine officials push back trip to Washington as IMF talks drag on

Key Economy Ministry officials postpone trip to United States for talks with International Monetary Fund as differences between both parties persist.

Officials from Argentina’s Economy Ministry have postponed a trip to Washington for face-to-face talks with the International Monetary Fund over revisions to the country’s US$44-billion extended fund facility agreement.

Government sources told the Noticias Argentinas news agency that negotiations with the Fund are likely to drag on for the next few days at least. There is no confirmed date for the officials’ trip and details of the new programme are still being defined, they added.

A delegation headed by Economy Minister Sergio Massa’s second-in-command, Gabriel Rubinstein, and chief advisor Leonardo Madcur was to travel to Washington this week for meetings, but, as substantial differences persist between the two sides, the trip has been postponed.

Argentina’s government made two payments last week to the Fund as discussions for a new staff-level agreement continued. The country used US$1 billion in yuan from a currency swap line with China and US$1.7 billion of special drawing rights (SDRs) issued by the International Monetary Fund for the repayment.

IMF Communications Director Julie Kozack confirmed last week that the Fund’s staff and Argentine authorities are still locked in talks intending to reach “agreement on the fifth review of the programme.”

Massa, who recently confirmed he would run for president, has been briefing the press for weeks that a deal is close. 

Analysts are now speculating over what will happen to three payments Argentina is due to make to the Fund this month: US$1.294 billion on Friday, July 7, followed by US$647 million on Friday, July 14, and US$680 million on Friday, July 28.

It seems increasingly likely that the government will tap its currency swap with China again and use yuan, as it did last Friday, though the extent of Argentina’s credit is unclear.

Sources close to Massa remain optimistic that a deal with the IMF will be reached soon.



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