With interest rates at a dizzying 40% and inflation at 25.6%, one might say that the Argentinian economy is in a high fever as the nation’s leadership try to impose market reforms, cut government spending and end protectionism. Whilst unpopular at home, the measures are naturally meeting resistance at home.
It is understood that Argentina is in talks with the IMF for a supporting loan rumoured to be worth $30 billion to help during the reform process with the nation’s finance minister Nicolas Dujovne expected to travel to Washington to meet with IMF officials.
In an address to the nation, President Macri said: Just a few minutes ago I spoke with (IMF) director Christine Lagarde, and she confirmed we would start working on an agreement. This will allow us to strengthen our program of growth and development, giving us greater support to face this new global scenario and avoid crises like the ones we have had in our history".
In 2001, Argentina defaulted on a loan to the IMF and other creditors and temporarily severed its links to the IMF in 2006. The default was on approximately $80 billion of loans. IMF austerity measures were blamed by many Argentinians for the 2001-02 financial crisis which put millions of previously middle-class Argentinians in poverty.
Using the IMF to provide support for the reforms represents a cheaper option than going to the money markets, but it is likely that the IMF will place conditions linked to the reforms on any loan.
Mr Macri suggested that IMF support was needed in the face of a strengthening US dollar (as the Fed continues monetary tightening) and a stronger oil price (which has spiked today on the news that the USA is pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal).
The Peso strengthened on news of the putative IMF deal. Analysts suggest that the President and the IMF will probably have much common ground over the planned reforms.