IMF cites progress in $45 billion debt talks with Argentina

FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON/BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -The International Monetary Fund and Argentina flagged “progress” in debt talks after meetings between the two sides in Italy concluded, with the South American nation looking to revamp the roughly $45 billion it owes the Fund.

The Fund, in a statement on Tuesday, said meetings in Venice from July 8-12 had helped push forward the talks and that the two sides will continue working together towards a deal.

“The Argentine authorities and IMF staff held productive meetings to further advance the technical work towards an IMF-supported program,” the IMF mission team said.

“In particular, progress was made in identifying policy options to develop the domestic capital market, mobilize domestic revenue, and strengthen Argentina’s external resilience.”

Argentina, which has been hit by debt and currency crises in recent years, has been locked in talks with the IMF over a new deal to replace a 2018 agreement that failed to head off economic crisis in the country.

The country’s Economy Minister Martin Guzman had met with IMF officials and Fund head Kristalina Georgieva in Italy where he had traveled for a G20 finance ministers meeting. Despite the progress, the parties remain short of a deal.

“The meetings of the technical teams brought progress and understandings on key issues of the government’s economic program,” Argentina’s Economy Ministry said in a statement.

“In particular, concrete advances were made in understandings regarding policies for the development of the domestic capital market, tax administration, and the development of foreign exchange generating sectors.”

Both sides had initially hoped to strike a new deal earlier this year, though are now aiming for an agreement before the end of March 2022 after mid-term elections in Argentina at the end of this year.

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