IMF’s number two met with Caputo, calls meeting ‘productive’

Gita Gopinath praised the ‘ongoing efforts to restore macroeconomic stability’

Argentina’s Economy Minister Luis Caputo and the first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Gita Gopinath, met in Buenos Aires to analyze the progress of the economic program the lender and the country agreed on after the administration change.

“Pleased to be in Buenos Aires,” Gopinath posted on X. “Had a productive discussion with Minister Caputo, Governor [Santiago] Bausili of [the Central Bank], and Chief of Staff [Nicolás] Posse on the ongoing efforts to restore macroeconomic stability, protect the vulnerable and strengthen growth prospects in Argentina.”

The IMF delegation led by Gopinath included the Deputy Director of the Western Hemisphere Luis Cubeddu, the Argentine mission head Ashvin Ahuja, and the permanent representative in the country, Ben Kelmanson.

The meeting took place between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., according to Télam news agency.

Télam also reported that government officials told the Fund members that Argentina gained a fiscal surplus due to Milei’s economic measures. The Center of Argentine Political Economy (CEPA) calculated that the government accomplished the surplus by cutting 39% of state expenditure, which they considered “unprecedented in recent years” in a report released on Tuesday.

Social benefits and retirement pensions saw the deepest cuts, falling by 29% and 38% respectively. Caputo said in an interview on Monday that pensions would increase by approximately 30% in March, but a government source could not confirm whether the administration would pay a bonus. “It is being evaluated,” the source said.

Officials also pointed out that inflation decreased from 25.5% in December to 20.6% in January, and is projected at 15% for the current month. The Central Bank has accumulated almost US$ 7.8 billion since Javier Milei took office.

On January 31, the IMF’s board approved the staff-level agreement it had reached with Argentina and disbursed US$4.7 billion. The staff-level agreement the lender reached with the country on January 10 included tightening the country’s fiscal goal — a target 2% surplus of GDP instead of a 0.9% deficit, implying greater austerity measures than previously envisioned.

—with information from Télam


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