Argentina agrees to deal with IMF to restructure debt from $57 billion bailout
Argentina has reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to restructure debt from a record $57 billion bailout, President Alberto Fernández said on Friday, eliminating the need to revive the struggling economy. Threat of impending conflict with the bank when the economy.
“We had a problem and now we have a solution,” Fernandez said in his address to the nation. “It is because of this agreement that we are able to secure new financing.”
He made the announcement after a tense week of negotiations over the $700 million that Argentina owes the International Monetary Fund, which is due later on Friday.
Markets welcomed news of the deal in principle on Friday, with government bonds due 2030 up as much as 3 cents against the dollar before edging up to 33.2 cents, the biggest one-day gain since the notes were issued in 2020 year.
Finance Minister and IMF chief negotiator Martin Guzman outlines details of new plans for refinancing $44.5 billion in outstanding debt $57 billion from Argentina originally borrowed In 2018, from the International Monetary Fund after the President’s speech.
The share of central bank money printing to finance deficits will slow to 1% of gross domestic product from 3.7% last year and then “close to zero” in 2024, Guzman said. The country also plans to reduce its fiscal deficit to 0.9 percent by 2024 and boost reserves to $5 billion this year.
A comprehensive deal with the Washington-based lender on a debt-restructuring deal still needs to be approved by the IMF board and by Argentina’s Congress, where the country’s opposition has ratified big harvest in last year’s election.
In a separate statement on Friday, IMF officials said that although an understanding had been reached with Argentina on “key policies”, a final staff-level agreement was still to be reached. Fund staff will continue to work with their counterparts in Buenos Aires “in the coming weeks,” the statement read.
Argentina has rejected calls from the International Monetary Fund for faster cuts in spending and subsidies, disagreeing over what it calls a “fiscal path” — the magnitude and speed of spending cuts to balance the budget. This is seen as key to renegotiating the debt owed to the IMF of more than $40 billion, which the leftist government believes will damage the economic recovery.
Guzman said that under the new two-and-a-half-year IMF program as part of a 10-year financing plan, the state would play a “moderately expansionary role” with plans to borrow locally to deepen local capital markets.
Under the terms of the new deal, there will be no spending cuts, including energy subsidies, according to a statement from the Treasury Department. Argentina has at least a four-and-a-half-year grace period before it begins to repay its debt.
“We want to meet our deficit targets with real spending that doesn’t stop the economy from recovering, and to be able to step up tax revenue,” Guzmán said.
Argentina’s unofficial exchange rate rose 2.53 percent on Friday after the minister ruled out a sudden devaluation of the peso. As part of the new economic plan, the country will seek to reduce inflation, which is currently hovering above 50 percent, and raise real interest rates to positive territory, he said.
Nikhil Sanghani, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, said that while the news was a “clear step in the right direction”, there were “obstacles” to success.
“We are more concerned with compliance. The government may drop the austerity plan by next year [presidential] election,” he wrote in a note to clients.