Argentina’s finance minister seeks $ 44 billion IMF debt deal without tightening his belt

With Argentina going bankrupt, Finance Minister Martín Guzmán is pushing for an agreement by May with the International Monetary Fund to repay $ 44 billion in debt. To gain IMF approval, he will close a yawning fiscal gap, he said in an interview on Friday.

This is the traditional route that Argentina, which has defaulted nine times on its sovereign debt, took when its economy hit rock bottom, as it has now done during a punitive pandemic that led to a economic contraction of 10% in 2020. But Guzmán said his plan falls short of the draconian austerity measures imposed by the IMF on other governments.

“We are using the negotiations with the IMF as an opportunity to try to break away from the patterns of the past,” said Guzmán, an economist trained at Columbia University.

The twist this time around is that Mr. Guzmán and President Alberto Fernández both belong to a party that has long been plague against the IMF, blaming her for Argentina’s problems. And they face a formidable opponent within the ruling Peronist coalition that is bringing lawmakers together against the IMF’s belt-tightening policies.

Vice-President Cristina Kirchner, leader of a far-left faction, calls for strong state intervention and public spending to preserve the purchasing power of Argentine workers, a policy that has marked her two terms in office. the Presidency.

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