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ECONOMY | 15-02-2022 21:30

IMF board to discuss progress in Argentina programme on Wednesday

The International Monetary Fund’s board of directors will meet on Wednesday to discuss the state of negotiations with Argentina.

The International Monetary Fund’s board of directors will meet on Wednesday to discuss the state of negotiations with Argentina, as the two parties discuss a new programme to delay repayment of more than US$40 billion of debt.

Staff of the Washington-based lender called for a meeting in which members of the executive board will have the opportunity to voice their views on the latest progress in the negotiations, according to people with direct knowledge, who asked not to be named because talks are private. The meeting was called informally “to engage” the members, marking an incremental step from previous discussions, where staff focused on just briefing the board, the people said. 

Argentina and the IMF are in the middle of negotiations to reach a staff-level agreement to refinance a failed programme from 2018. A staff-level agreement, which will set out the explicit targets and commitments that the Fund’s technical staff agree to with Economy Ministry officials, is the next step after the country announced in January an initial “understanding” that outlines a broad deal for US$44.5 billion but has still left many questions open on the deal’s specifics. 

The meeting, which will be held at 9.30am in Washington in hybrid virtual and in-person format, will focus on the country’s economic situation, one of the people said. The staff is also expected to provide an update on the evaluation of “exceptional access” criteria, which allows a country to receive a loan of more than 100 percent of its annual quota, the person added. Argentina’s original deal represents more than 10 times the country’s allowance with the Fund.

An IMF spokeswoman declined to comment. 

Argentina’s government expects to reach a staff-level agreement on a new programme with the Fund before March. The country’s Congress has to approve the agreement before the deal reaches the IMF’s executive board, all before a large payment comes due around the end of March. 

by Jorgelina do Rosario, Bloomberg

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