2009-09-10

Argentina approaches the IMF

Argentinian Finance Minister Amado Boudou arrives at the G-20 meeting for financial representatives in London on Sept. 4, 2009.

Argentinian Finance Minister Amado Boudou arrives at the G-20 meeting for financial representatives in London on Sept. 4, 2009.

Winston F. Burges

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – After attending the G-20 summit in London, the meeting of the world's 20 largest economies, Argentinian Finance Minister Amado Boudou announced that the country intends to resume relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), not to seek loans, but to have its “voice” heard within the multilateral credit organization.

Although the Minister did not specify a timeframe, he assured La Nación that he is discussing “a new relationship with the IMF.” Boudou went on to say, “It is not a question of [the IMF] auditing us, but of fulfilling conditions to normalize relations.”

During an informal conversation in London between IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Khan of France, Boudou and Argentinian Central Bank President Martín Redrado, an agreement was reached to set the date and conditions of an IMF visit to the upcoming joint annual conference of the organization and the World Bank, programmed for Oct. 6-7 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The last time the IMF reviewed Argentina’s account was in mid-2006, explained EFE, five months after the country had cancelled its IMF debt of approximately US$9.5 billion. “The situation is very different from the time when Argentina needed a program to finance its administrative costs,” added Boudou.

Meanwhile, the IMF stated that it was open to a rapprochement. When Nicolás Eyzaguirre, the IMF’s Western Hemisphere director and chief negotiator with Argentina, visited the country in August, he said to Crítica de la Argentina, “We cannot impose something that member countries do not want. As such, the Argentinian authorities have to make the call, not us. When they decide, we will be ready to talk.”

On a number of occasions the opposition has accused Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government of manipulating statistical indicators of inflation, poverty and unemployment – presented as signs of a healthy economy – and requested the presence of international bodies such as the IMF to confirm their veracity.

Boudou played down the repercussions of a possible meeting when speaking to Clarín, saying, “We have not approached the Fund for financial reasons. We are initiating talks so that our political and institutional voice can be heard in an organization that we are members of.”

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