IMF Supports Argentina’s New Economy Chief as Crisis Deepens

The International Monetary Fund said Argentine officials reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to its $44 billion program with the fund, attempting to shore up confidence after the economy fell deeper into crisis, Bloomberg News reported. Argentine Economy Minister Silvina Batakis “agreed on the importance of decisive program implementation,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva tweeted Monday after meeting the new minister, who retweeted the comment. For its part, the Economy Ministry said Batakis laid out the country’s economic challenges to IMF officials in extensive meetings without reference to any discussions about executing on the program. Batakis also met with US Treasury staff, including David Lipton, senior counselor to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. It was the IMF’s first major meeting with Argentine officials since Batakis’s predecessor, Martin Guzman, abruptly resigned July 2, blowing a long-simmering political crisis wide open. Since Guzman departed, political uncertainty has seen prices soar and the peso plunge in unofficial markets, clouding the outlook for the IMF program. One of Argentina’s last remaining international creditors, the Inter-American Development Bank, on Monday suggested it won’t approve new funding to the country until the government gets its house in order. Batakis has insisted on complying with the agreement Guzman negotiated and has even imposed a public sector hiring freeze as a fiscal measure. However, she’s also said in separate comments that some targets in the IMF program will change at each review. Read more.