Economy Minister and Unión por la Patria (UxP) presidential candidate Sergio Massa said Wednesday he would renegotiate Argentina’s deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if he is elected president.
In an interview with TN news station, Massa added that the IMF agreement is behind Argentina’s macroeconomic problem, given that it “causes inflation and needs to be discussed.”
“We have already told the IMF that if Argentines give us the responsibility of becoming the government on December 10, we want to rediscuss the program [and have it be] based on exports.”
According to Massa, the IMF understands the need to make changes to the deal because of “how much it harms Argentines’ [purchasing power].”
“Argentina is currently burdened with the largest debt in the country’s history. It is also the biggest debt the IMF has ever had,” Massa said. “A state-level agreement is necessary to deal with this issue.”
He also said Argentina needs to move out of the “inflationary mechanism” caused by the debt, as well as the gradual depreciation of the peso more or less in line with inflation, also known as crawling peg.
On Wednesday, the government moved the official exchange rate for the first time since August 13. Following a 22% currency devaluation after the primaries, the value was fixed at AR$350 per US dollar. The administration also returned to a crawling peg regime, which it had dropped after the devaluation. The decisions mean that the currency will now depreciate 3% monthly, starting at AR$353 (three pesos more than on Tuesday).
In line with his proposal to end the political divide, Massa said that renegotiation discussions with the IMF require a government of national unity because it conditions the country’s economy. He added that said government should agree that whenever Argentina takes out a loan, the money should go to public works “instead of capital flight,” something he said happened during Mauricio Macri’s government.
Macri took out a US$44 billion debt from the IMF in 2018. In 2022, the government and the IMF signed an Extended Fund Facility agreement renegociating the deal. The agreement includes an economic program that Argentina must comply with to receive disbursements every three months, which the government uses to pay the previous debt.
IMF staff and Argentina reached an agreement on the fifth and sixth reviews of the program in late July. The board approved a disbursement on August 23, one week after the government devalued the peso by 22%.