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Montevideo, October 24th 2021 - 19:38 UTC

 

 

Argentine economy minister to meet IMF in Washington; no deal expected in May

Thursday, March 18th 2021 - 09:20 UTC
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Guzmán told local media on Monday that while he hoped to sign a fresh agreement with the IMF in May as originally planned, that date was flexible. Guzmán told local media on Monday that while he hoped to sign a fresh agreement with the IMF in May as originally planned, that date was flexible.

Argentina's Economy Minister Martin Guzmán traveled to New York on Wednesday night to meet investors before heading to Washington for talks with the International Monetary Fund, a government source said.

Argentina is looking to replace a lending program signed by the previous government in 2018 and for which it currently owes the IMF some US$ 45 billion.

Guzmán told local media on Monday that while he hoped to sign a fresh agreement with the IMF in May as originally planned, that date was flexible.

Delays to a deal being signed have generated frustration among bondholders who see a new agreement as key for giving more stability to the country's flailing economy and markets and helping lift rock-bottom bond prices.

A group of Argentina's creditors said late last month it was concerned the IMF talks over a new deal were being “subordinated to politics.”

Argentina's gross domestic product will grow at least 7% this year, Economy Minister Martin Guzman said on Tuesday, signaling a faster than previously expected recovery after a decade of stagflation and recession exacerbated last year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new economic growth estimate is above the 5.5% foreseen in the government's budget. Latin America's No. 3 economy shrank 10% in 2020, weighed down by a lockdown against the coronavirus and uncertainty over the policies of left-leaning Peronist President Alberto Fernandez, who took office at the end of 2019.

“We expect growth of gross domestic product of 7% for 2021. We expect that as a base. Along with this we are beginning to see a recovery in employment, and a strengthening of public accounts,” said Guzmán in a videoconference with 18 foreign investment funds.

Fernandez, who led the videoconference from his residence in Buenos Aires, urged investors to bet on the country, especially in areas such as energy, in lithium mining and in agro-industrial production.

“I would like to encourage you to turn your gaze on Argentina,” Fernandez said, adding that the Belgium-sized Vaca Muerta shale oil play in southern Argentina was particularly ripe for investment.

Regarding agriculture, the president said: “What is lacking are investments to expand local primary production.”

Argentina is already the world's No. 3 corn exporter and top supplier of soymeal livestock feed, used to fatten hogs and poultry from Europe to Southeast Asia.

 

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