WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Negotiations between the International Monetary Fund and Argentina over a new IMF loan program are “very fluid and constructive,” with Argentine officials expected to come to Washington in the coming days for more talks, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday.
Rice told a regular news briefing that a recent IMF staff mission to Buenos Aires, made “good progress” in defining the initial elements of Argentina’s economic reform plans.
He said the two sides “share the view that tackling Argentina’s challenges will require a carefully balanced set of policies that foster stability, restore confidence, protect the most vulnerable people in Argentina and set the basis for sustainable and inclusive growth as Argentina battles its economic challenges, and of course, battles the pandemic.”
Argentina is looking to replace its failing $57 billion IMF program, launched in 2018 as the largest program in the Fund’s 75-year history. About $45 billion in IMF funds have been disbursed under the program.
In early November, Buenos Aires launched talks with the IMF on a longer-term Extended Fund Facility after emerging from a sovereign debt default by restructuring almost $110 billion in foreign currency bonds.
Rice said there was not a timeline yet for a potential agreement on an IMF-supported program for Argentina. Authorities in the countries were working to secure “broad political and social support” for a new economic plan.
Rice said the IMF’s current overall lending commitments are about $280 billion out of about $1 trillion in total lending resources. More than $100 billion of that had been approved since the COVID-19 pandemic started early this year, including $31 billion in emergency coronavirus financing for 78 countries.
The IMF hopes to reach agreement with Kenya on an IMF program early next year, Rice added
(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Diane Craft)