IMF staff approves Argentina funds, wants more spending cuts
(Adds IMF quotes, context)
BUENOS AIRES, March 18 (Reuters) - The International
Monetary Fund has reached a staff-level agreement with Argentina
over its third review of the country's economic progress under a
financing deal agreed last year, the IMF said on Monday, which
would unlock around $10.87 billion.
The disbursement, part of a $56.3 billion standby financing
deal to help Argentina recover from an economic crisis that has
rocked the South American nation over the last year, is subject
to approval by the IMF executive board.
The agreement, which had been expected, paves the way for
Argentina to received the latest injection of IMF funds as the
government battles to tame rampant inflation, protect the local
peso currency and endeavor to revive growth.
The IMF's executive board rubber-stamped the previous
tranche of funds in December, worth around $7.6 billion, after a
staff-level agreement was reached in November. The board's next
review is expected in the coming weeks, the IMF said.
The fund added it welcomed recent moves by Argentina to
tighten monetary policy, though it said the country needed to
rein in spending further to tame debt levels.
"Achieving a zero primary deficit in 2019 will require
further restraint in government spending," IMF mission chief for
Argentina Roberto Cardarelli said in a statement. An IMF team
visited the country as part of the review last month.
Cardarelli added that taming high inflation would be a
"lengthy process" and acknowledged that a weak economy and high
inflation were "taking a toll" on the country.
"Economic activity has been weak but there are good
prospects for a gradual recovery," he said.
The IMF remains unpopular with many in Argentina, who blame
the fund for austerity measures that exacerbated a previous
financial crisis at the beginning of the century.
(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing
by Richard Chang and Phil Berlowitz)
First Published: 2019-03-18 21:07:22
Updated 2019-03-18 21:30:16
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