The head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde said she wishes to “continue improving” the relationship between the IMF and Argentina, while at the same time focusing on the necessities of the region's third largest economy which is not growing as fast as it should.
“I think our relationship has gotten better, and I want to continue improving it,” Lagarde told reporters during an economic forum held in Santiago de Chile. “We would be very glad to help Argentina get out of the lack-of-growth scenario it is in,” she added.
Argentina and the IMF are currently holding talks to improve the Argentine statistics bureau. According to IMF stats, Argentina will be ending the current year in recession.
However despite the amicable words from Ms Lagarde relations are still tense. Only last October, Economy minister Axel Kicillof argued that the IMF always gets it wrong when it comes to Argentine prospects and forecasts. At the time the IMF said that Argentina was heading for a 1.7% contraction this year.
I try not to criticize because it's not helpful for a constructive dialogue. I'd rather look at those places in which we can improve relations and work together said the IMF chief.
Argentina is a member of IMF and we want to focus on its specific needs, but there are clearly some steps to be taken, Ms Lagarde added.
The IMF Outlook points out that only Venezuela and Argentina won't be expanding this year in South America and the two countries also are reporting the highest inflations in the region.
The inflation issue is interesting because under the new statistical methodology applied by Argentina with technical support from the IMF, the index stands at an annualized 24%, which is considered by all other economic agents in the country as 'too low' and most are more inclined to believe it will end the twelve months closer to 40%.
However the president of Argentina's Industrial Union, UIA, Hector Mendez, who has had his clashes with President Cristina Fernandez, argues that inflation is 'certainly not 24%' but it is 'an exaggeration to talk about 49%'.
Mendez added that despite 'dissidences' with the Argentine president they have a relation of 'respect'.
We have a relation of respect; she has never been disrespectful; I have been very critical al times but the president has always kept her line, said Mendez.
Nevertheless he admitted that 'many people fear Cristina Fernandez' but that's not his case. I don't mind her reprimanding me publicly, I've told the president everything and more in private to the president, its' a relation of respect.