Argentina’s Treasury Minister, Nicolás Dujovne, and IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, gave a press conference in Buenos Aires, on the margins of the G20 finance ministerial meeting taking place this weekend.
“The Argentine authorities are implementing a decisive reform plan that has the support of the international community and is backed by the IMF,” stated Ms Lagarde, in reference to the reforms stipulated in the USD 50 billion stand-by agreement Argentina has with the IMF, which was announced on 7 June this year. It is the largest loan in the IMF’s history.
“This plan aims to strengthen Argentina’s economy and bolster confidence by addressing long standing vulnerabilities, protect the most vulnerable, improve gender equity and lay the foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth going forward,” added Lagarde, citing “very good progress” in the few short weeks that the IMF programme has been in place, “in terms of fiscal development, and significant progress in terms of monetary policy, where clearly the measures taken by the [Central] Bank have restored and managed a much better situation, with less volatility, more transparency.”
On the inflationary situation and inflation targets in Argentina, Ms Lagarde stated that the target set by the government is viewed by the IMF as attainable and has the full support of the organization. “Steadfast implementation of the authorities’ plan will stabilize the economy, help lower inflation, improve confidence and lay the foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth,” she said.
On fiscal and inflation targets, Minister Dujovne added that “the most important thing is the consistency of the programme and to ensure we comply with it. Both fiscal and inflation targets are equally relevant for us; they form part of the comprehensive programme we have in place, and they must be reached.”
“These and other measures will help economic performance going forward,” said Lagarde. “We expect growth to stabilize in the last quarter of 2018 and see a gradual recovery in 2019 and 2020, as confidence grows and the cost of capital falls, along with inflation, while exports pick up.” She was also pleased to see strong progress on the social protection chapter of the IMF agreement. “It’s an area where the authorities are completely on target,” she said.
The press conference took place on the margins of this year’s Third G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, which is being held today and tomorrow at the Buenos Aires Exhibition & Convention Centre (CEC). The official press conference for this meeting will take place at 4.30 pm local time tomorrow.
Ms Lagarde also met with President Mauricio Macri, Minister Dujovne and Argentine Central Bank Governor, Luis Caputo yesterday. “The meetings were an opportunity to discuss recent economic developments in the world and in Argentina, and take stock of the authorities’ economic reform plans,” Ms Lagarde stated. She also emphasized “the growth that will result from those measures, and the developments that will take place in many provinces of Argentina with respect to energy development, tourism and new jobs that will be created.”
It is the second time President Macri and Ms Lagarde have met in recent weeks; the first was at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada in early July, just after the IMF agreement was announced.