Fri, Aug 31, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Argentina asks for early release of funds

DEBT DUE:The IMF said it would revise the Argentine government’s economic plan with a focus on better insulating the nation from shifts in global financial markets

AP, BUENOS AIRES

Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Wednesday asked the IMF for an early release of funds from a US$50 billion deal with the IMF to ease concerns that the nation will not be able to meet its debt obligations for next year.

Macri said in a televised address that Argentina has agreed with the IMF “to advance all necessary funds to guarantee compliance with next year’s financial program.”

Macri said that in the past week there have been “expressions of a lack of trust in the markets” about Argentina.

He said the decision seeks to dispel any uncertainty, but he did not specify the amount or when the funds will be released.

Argentina was forced to strike a deal with the IMF earlier this year after a sharp depreciation of its currency and a run on the peso.

The three-year, stand-by financing deal is aimed at strengthening the South American nation’s weak economy and helping it to fight against inflation — which at 30 percent per year is one of the highest in the world.

The Argentine currency fell again on Wednesday to close at an all-time low of 34.2 pesos per US dollar.

The IMF said in a statement that it would “revise the [Argentine] government’s economic plan with a focus on better insulating Argentina from the recent shifts in global financial markets, including through stronger monetary and fiscal policies and a deepening of efforts to support the most vulnerable in society.”

Most Argentines have bad memories of the IMF and blame the international lending institution for encouraging policies that led to the country’s worst economic crisis in 2001.

The crisis 17 years ago resulted in one of every five Argentines being unemployed, millions sliding into poverty and some reporting going hungry.

The international lender has admitted that it had a made a string of mistakes that contributed to Argentina’s economic implosion.

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