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article imageIMF-Argentina loan talks 'well advanced,' spokesman says

By AFP     Jun 7, 2018 in World

Talks between the International Monetary Fund and Argentina on a new loan program are in advanced stages, with the Fund's board likely to consider the matter soon, a spokesman said Thursday.

Argentina, Latin America's third-largest economy, asked last month for IMF assistance to help the country face mounting inflation, budget deficits and a weakening currency.

The request was politically risky given the country's bitter history with the Washington-based lender, popularly seen in Argentina as imposing tough conditions that worsened economic pain during a crisis 17 years ago.

"We considered the discussions to be well advanced and we would expect our executive board to meet soon on Argentina's request for exceptional access for IMF resources," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.

Rice did not disclose the size of the loan or when disbursals might begin. Media reports indicate the loan request could amount to $30 billion.

"There was a lot of progress to the point that I expect the board will meet soon to discuss," said Rice.

"We are hopeful that Argentina's economy will be in a stronger place after the agreement with the IMF."

The country is seeking a "high access" standby arrangement. SBAs can last up to three years and usually grant periodic disbursements as the country meets previously agreed economic targets.

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