IMF mission arrives in Argentina for crucial review

IMF mission chief Roberto Carderelli will head the delegation to Argentina to discuss matters pertaining to the country’s economy and determine a disbursement of US$5.3 billion. (AFP pic)

BUENOS AIRES: Delegates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) land in Buenos Aires Saturday as concerns about Argentina’s economy cast doubt upon the future of its record US$56 billion bailout.

IMF mission chief Roberto Cardarelli will meet new Argentine economy minister Hernan Lacunza Saturday to discuss the economic outlook, according to statements by the government and IMF.

The IMF also noted it will meet with economic advisers of the main presidential candidates, which will undoubtedly include those of front-runner Alberto Fernandez.

The trip will determine whether the IMF disburses US$5.3 billion to Argentina in September.

The trip is technically scheduled as the fifth review of Argentina’s IMF credit line, and the government already reached its fiscal targets for June that are under consideration this time.

However, it’s no ordinary check up. Argentina’s outlook has changed dramatically for the worse since the IMF’s last review in June.

After Fernandez beat president Mauricio Macri by 15 points in a primary vote on Aug 11, the peso is 18% weaker, bond prices have tanked to record lows and the chance of a default within the next five years has soared to 83%.

Now the IMF must weigh Argentina’s ability to pay down its debt and provide assurances that no matter who governs, the government will stay on the course of the program.