February 21, 2020
1. IMF support for Argentina highlights conclusion of official visit
Last Friday marked the end of the IMF’s visit to Argentina. After a week in the country, the multilateral lender studied the Fernández administration’s economic plan, holding meetings with Social Development Minister Daniel Arroyo, Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas, Central Bank President Miguel Pesce, and other key figures The IMF’s delegation was led by western hemisphere director Julie Kozack, and Argentina mission chief Luis Cubeddu. The IMF ended by sharing a press release that considers Argentine economic and political debt to be unsustainable, and that a definitive debt fulfillment plan is needed to satisfy creditors. Argentina owes the IMF USD $44 billion that was lent during the Macri administration, but the country’s total external debt has summed up to USD $311 billion – equivalent to 90% of the country’s total GDP.
2. Economy Minister travels to the G20 Summit
Minister of Economy Martín Guzmán traveled yesterday to the Saudi capital of Riyadh to take part in the G20’s Central Bank Governors Meeting. Guzmán already has a meeting with IMF director Kristalina Georgieva scheduled, to make advances on Argentina’s debt renegotiation process. He also plans to meet with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, and his Mexican counterpart Arturo Herrera Gutiérrez. IMF director for the Southern Cone, Sergio Chodos, and Central Bank President Miguel Pesce accompany Guzmán on his trip.
3. Bolsonaro seeks new date to meet with Alberto Fernández
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro spoke on Monday for the first time after learning his Argentine counterpart will not be able to meet with him on March 1st, as Bolsonaro stated during Chancellor Felipe Solá’s visit to Brasilia. Nonehteless, Bolsonaro was keen on meeting soon with President Alberto Fernández and expressed his desire to have a good relationship with Argentina, based on the principles of liberty and democracy.
4. Central Bank caps credit card debt interest rate at 55%
Following a meeting with the country’s key banking entities, the Argentine central bank set a cap on the interest rate of credit cards at 55%. Until today, the cost of financing was approximately 80%, but gradually decreased as a result of a 20 point cut in the central bank’s benchmark interest rate over the last few months, which now stands at 44%.
5. Opposition leaders reorganize
Former President Mauricio Macri met yesterday with the leaders from the friendly PRO party, along with Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and former Governor María Eugenia Vidal. This was the first such meeting that Macri has undertaken since returning to politics two weeks ago. Also in attendance was new PRO chief, Patricia Bullrich, and outgoing leader Humberto Schiavoni, along with the PRO leader in the lower house, Cristián Ritondo and former senator Miguel Ángel Pichetto, Macri’s vice presidential ticket during last October’s presidential elections.