Argentina to get biggest IMF bailout package ever

27 Sep 18

Argentina will receive the biggest bailout package ever from the International Monetary Fund to help the country restore its economy faster, Christine Lagarde has announced.

The Washington-based fund will now give the Latin American country a total of $57.1bn that will be disbursed over the next three years to help it recover from its current economic turmoil.

This increases the lending package agreed over the summer by $7.1bn. Around $15m of the bailout package has already been disbursed and a further $35m is expected to be handed out by the end of next year, the IMF said.

IMF head Lagarde said at a press conference in New York on Wednesday: “This is the biggest loan in the history of the IMF.

“A great deal of work remains to be done if Argentina is to respond effectively to the current challenging circumstances. That effort is just beginning.”

The loan will come with stringent conditions, such as a commitment to reach a ‘zero’ deficit by 2019.

Lagarde told the press conference: “A central element of the authorities’ plan will be to reach budgetary balance by 2019, one year earlier than previously intended, and to move to a 1 percent primary surplus in 2020.”

The South American country initially secured the $50bn IMF loan in June this year after it was hit by a currency crisis and high inflation.

The peso currency has lost more than 40% of its value against the US dollar this year. To stop the devaluation, the country has been forced to impose interest rate hikes and tighten the fiscal deficit target.

The Argentinian president also vowed to increase tax on exports and scrap numerous government ministries in a move to restore the economy, earlier this month.

Thousands of Argentinians joined a nationwide protest and strike this week against economic turmoil and president Mauricio Marcri’s austerity measures.

Many citizens also blame the IMF for supporting policies that led to the country’s worst economic crisis in 2001.

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