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IMF Chief Not Seeking Austerity in Argentina ‘In These Times’

IMF Chief Not Seeking Austerity in Argentina ‘In These Times’

Negotiators for the International Monetary Fund arrived in Argentina Tuesday intending to listen to the government’s plans and aren’t immediately requesting spending cuts, according to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

The Fund’s Julie Kozack and Luis Cubeddu landed in Buenos Aires to begin the first round of in-person, formal negotiations for Argentina’s new program. Argentina owes the IMF $44 billion from a failed agreement given to the previous government, which had to make unpopular spending cuts during an ongoing recession to comply with the deal. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the IMF won’t seek such austerity right now, Georgieva said.

“We are not coming with the idea of, ‘oh, well, let’s see how we can further tighten up spending in these times,’” Georgieva said Tuesday in an interview with CNN en Espanol.

“Let’s see how the discussions would go. We hope to be of help to Argentina to define a medium-term objectives for growth.”

Asked whether the IMF was willing to lend to Argentina again, Georgieva added “we are in a very early stage” of talks, and “Argentina is a member of the IMF, and, like every member, we are there for you.” After the staff’s visit this week, they intend to return in November.

Negotiations are expected to continue into early 2021.

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