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ECONOMY | 04-08-2021 14:54

Argentine officials met with IMF staff for technical talks in Washington

Government officials met last week with representatives from the IMF in Washington as the government of South America’s second-largest economy seeks to rework its troubled loan programme.

Argentine officials met last week with representatives from the International Monetary Fund in Washington as the government of South America’s second-largest economy seeks to rework its troubled loan programme.

Economic Policy Secretary Fernando Morra and Central Bank Economic Research Deputy General Manager German Feldman travelled to the United States to hold the in-person meetings with IMF staffers including Argentina mission chief Luis Cubeddu, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because the meetings were private.

The talks focused on technical aspects of the negotiations, including 2021 economic data, projections for 2022 and 2023, as well as baseline assumptions on inflation and regulated prices, said one of the people. The discussions focused on the government’s plans for expenses and revenues, another person added.

The meetings show a sign of progress in Argentina’s delayed talks with the IMF for a new extended fund facility programme to replace a previous US$45-billion loan. Negotiations have stalled, with expectations rising that a deal won’t be made until 2022, after the country’s midterm elections in November.

Reaching agreement on economic projections for the basis of a new program is one of the key early steps for talks to advance. Argentina is expected to send its economic projections for 2022 to Congress as part of a budget bill it must submit by mid-September.

An IMF spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokesman for the Central Bank declined to comment and a spokesman for the Economy Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The country’s new programme with the IMF will also include a climate change component, which is still under discussion, some of the people said.

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán most recently met with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at a meeting of finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 largest economies in Venice last month. Guzmán also met with Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary of the United States, the IMF’s largest shareholder, on the sidelines of the same summit.

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by Jorgelina do Rosario & Eric Martin, Bloomberg

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