High interest rates will have a negative impact on activity, and the weaker peso resulting from a floating exchange rate regime will add to already sky-high inflation, but both are necessary to prevent a deeper crisis, Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne admitted on Monday.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said on Thursday she is ready to aid Argentina and wants talks on a financing package to be finalized quickly. Lagarde said she instructed the IMF team to continue discussions on a loan program with the goal to “reach a rapid conclusion.”
Argentina Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne is due to meet on Thursday with IMF chief Christine Lagarde to request a financing package to help shore up the struggling economy, officials said. Dujovne will also meet with a senior US Treasury official in a key step in the talks with the IMF, which are likely to last six weeks, his spokesman said in a statement.
After several days up in Argentina, the devaluation of the Argentine peso and the rise of the US dollar have had some impact on the other side of the River Plate, where the exchange houses of downtown Montevideo marked on Wednesday the value of the currency up to 31,70 Uruguayan pesos per dollar, a rise of 2.08% compared to Monday —the highest in five years—. For the Uruguayan government, the country follows the global trend and calls for calm, beyond the noise generated in Argentina, which is beginning a dialogue between the Finance Minister, Nicolás Dujovne, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington.
Argentina asked the International Monetary Fund for financing to help stem a run from the Peso to the US dollar that is sparking a surge in interest rates and threatening to derail the country's economic recovery. The sum requested is estimated between 25 and 30bn dollars, 500% Argentina's IMF quota and could be disbursed in two forms, a flexible credit line or a precautionary credit line.
The Argentine Peso closed slightly weaker on Monday, though analysts remained optimistic the government and central bank had curbed a run on the currency with a massive rate hike and lower fiscal deficit target last week. . The local currency opened stronger on Monday but closed down 0.41%, at 21.97 per U.S. dollar. The Merval stock index ended down 3.43% and traders said investors remained cautious.
Argentina's Central Bank on Friday hiked its benchmark interest rate to 40% to support the peso, the third such hike in just over a week and one day after the currency plunged in value. Following the decision, the peso -- which has lost more than 10% of its value in the past month -- opened 6% higher against the dollar.
Argentina’s central bank would raise interest rates if inflation does not fall “a lot” beginning in May to a level consistent with its 2018 target for a 15% rise in consumer prices, central bank Governor Federico Sturzenegger said on Monday.
Germany and Argentina want to uphold a pledge to keep international trade free at a summit of the world’s 20 largest economies in Buenos Aires this week, the countries’ finance ministers said on Sunday.
Argentina posted a primary fiscal deficit worth 3.9% of GDP in 2017, below its 4.2% goal and the 4.6% figure posted in 2016, Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne told reporters. He said the government’s 2018 target for a primary fiscal deficit remained at 3.2% of GDP, with targets of deficits worth 0.6% in the first quarter, 1.6% in the second quarter and 2.2% in the third quarter.