IMF head acknowledges drought “harming people significantly”

Kristalina Georgieva said Argentina’s government would “continue to fine-tune policies” in the face of the challenge

International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva explicitly acknowledged the severity of the drought’s impact on Argentina’s economy, and the knock-on effects for lawmakers, on Thursday.

“We know that Argentina was hit by a severe drought that has undermined the performance of the economy and it has harmed people in the country significantly. That has complicated the job of policymakers,” Georgieva said. She was speaking at a press conference in Washington D.C. during the IMF and World Bank’s spring meetings.

In Argentina, a drought of historic severity has devastated the harvests of key crops such as soybeans and maize, slashing the country’s inflow of dollars and complicating its attempts to accumulate international reserves. 

Georgieva’s comments came a day after the Rosario Board of Trade further downgraded its harvest forecasts, with the soybean crop now expected to reach just 23 million tonnes. In recent years it has typically been between 28 million and 33 million tonnes.

In late March, President Alberto Fernández said that he had asked U.S. President Joe Biden for support to “revise” Argentina’s IMF program during a bilateral meeting in Washington.

“We have looked into the implications of this shock, we have partially accommodated it in the modification of the net international reserve accumulation target,” Georgieva continued, “but we recognize that we have a commitment from the government to continue to fine-tune policies in light of the conditions they find themselves in, and we will follow carefully on how successful they are.”

The leader of the Washington-based lender added that it is “always about implementation, and it will continue to be about implementation in these very challenging circumstances.” 
The IMF’s board approved a modification of international reserve targets on April 1, when it completed the fourth review of Argentina’s program. However, analysts say even the revised goals will be difficult for Argentina to meet.


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