WASHINGTON (AFP) - Argentina’s economic programme, including tough budget cuts, is yielding results and stabilizing financial markets, an International Monetary Fund spokesman said this week.
The key now is to press ahead with the reform policies to return to growth, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.
The IMF board is due to meet Wednesday to approve the next installment of the expanded US$ 56 billion loan deal approved for Argentina in late October. That would release US$ 7.6 billion for the crisis-battered country.
“The program is in fact yielding positive results,” Rice said at a press briefing. While declining to comment on daily movements of the stock markets, he noted that “broadly, financial markets we feel have stabilized and the fiscal deficit has been
tackled decisively.” President Mauricio Macri has imposed tough and unpopular belt-tightening cuts as part of the IMF programme.
Macri and his economic team are committed to moving forward with the programme, Rice said, while acknowledging the difficulties faced by the
“Our view is that with implementation there will be a return of confidence and that will lay the basis for return of growth,” he said.
The country secured a US$ 50 billion IMF loan in June and had received US$ 15 billion of the funds but as conditions worsened Buenos Aires had to go back to the lender for additional support with faster disbursement.
Argentina’s woes were brought on by a rapid loss of confidence in its currency early this year, which exacerbated the downturn already underway due to the severe drought.
On the other crisis-torn Latin American nation, Rice confirmed the Venezuelan government had provided economic data to the fund and staff were reviewing the information to see if it meets the requirements.
The IMF board in May censured Venezuela for failing to provide key macroeconomic data. Even without it, the IMF estimates the hyperinflation besetting the country could reach astronomical levels up to 10 percent next year.