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Montevideo, February 26th 2024 - 07:13 UTC



Doom-laden UK reports on Argentine economy

Wednesday, December 12th 2001 - 20:00 UTC
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Argentina's perilous economic plight is getting comprehensive coverage on British television and big headlines in the British media, such as “Argentina fails to win vital IMF loan” and “IMF refuses to rescue Argentina”. The sad repercussions and hardship caused in Argentina are widely reported.

A Guardian report says Argentina's currency is on the verge of collapse after Finance Minister Domingo Cavallo returned "empty handed" from weekend crisis talks with the International Monetary Fund in Washington over its 132-billion dollar (90-billion pound) foreign debt.

It quotes financial experts as saying the pressures on Argentina's currency are nearing breaking point. Devaluing the currency -- which, it says, is looking inevitable, would bankrupt thousands of firms and households.

The Times says Cavallo returned "empty-handed" after failing to secure "a reprieve to stave off massive debt default and steer his country away from looming economic meltdown". It quotes Cavallo as saying "all is not lost" and "there is still hope".

If Argentina cannot service its foreign debt, the Times says "it will have to declare the world's biggest ever default.... Draconian measures to try to stem the collapse of the financial system have worsened the gloomy mood".

"No one believes ... Buenos Aires any more"

The Times carries a leader entitled "An Argentine Lesson -- No one believes the aid-seekers of Buenos Aires any more". The Leader says: "About a billion dollars would have been enough to pay the most pressing debts of Latin America's third largest economy. The IMF's refusal to be coaxed into letting debt-ridden Argentina have that money brings closer the threat of a complete failure by the end of the year....

"The stark prospect now staring Senor Cavallo and his compatriots in the face is one of default on Argentina's entire 132-billion dollar public debt burden and the collapse of a decade-old "currency board" arrangement under which the Argentine currency, the peso, has been pegged at par to the dollar.

"The exasperated multilateral organisations clearly feel that there is no point in trusting leaders in Buenos Aires any longer to deliver on promises to turn round an economy buried in dollar debt and still stricken by the retreat of international capital from emerging markets since the crisis of 1998".

The Times say that Cavallo's "efforts to stave off default and save the currency board may not only be impracticable but have actually added to his country's problems... He might

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