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ECONOMY | 29-11-2020 23:08

Guzmán plays down prospects of an early IMF deal

In an interview with the Financial Times, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán plays down the chances of an early agreement with the International Monetary Fund over repayment of US$44-billion loan.

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán played down the chances of an early agreement with the International Monetary Fund to repay a US$44 billion loan, the Financial Times reported.

Guzmán told the newspaper that the government is in no hurry for a new programme, and can maintain a stable currency, according to the newspaper. He said there was no need for his country to look for more assistance from China.

Argentina wants to move “at a solid pace but requires common understanding and legitimacy,” the FT cited Guzmán as saying.

A deal by March or April “would certainly be acceptable,” he told the paper.

Defaulting on the IMF debt “would have an immense cost“ and turn Argentina into a “pariah,“ Guzmán told local daily Página/12 in a separate interview.

The minister said a devaluation wasn’t on the cards, though he accepted that the difference between Argentina’s official and parallel exchange rates was a problem, according to the FT. Calls for a peso devaluation are fading as time goes by, he said.

Argentina can maintain its current foreign exchange policy since it doesn’t have to make debt payments to private creditors next year, he told Página.

The government plans to grow its dollar reserves in 2021, he said.

Asked about the IMF seeking structural economic reforms, the minister didn’t give a concrete answer but said the government would “defend the interests of the Argentine people.“

Guzmán said he “totally“ supports the ruling coalition's wealth tax bill in the interview with Página, saying it’s “an extraordinary measure for an extraordinary moment.“

Wages and social security will climb faster than inflation next year, he told the newspaper.

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by Colin Keatinge, Bloomberg

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