March 4th, 2022


1. Argentina closed the debt refinancing agreement with the International Monetary Fund

The National Government and the staff of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) closed the Debt Refinancing Agreement that the country has with the multilateral organization, and it was sent to Congress for its study and vote. Once approved by the Legislative Power, it must be approved by the Fund’s board. The agreement reached foresees the replacement of the current Stand-by agreement with an Extended Facilities Framework (EFF), which will include 10 reviews during the next two and a half years. After each review, the IMF will make disbursements to cancel the current debt with the organization. The new debt generated by these disbursements will have a grace period of 4.5 years, and will be cancelled between 2026 and 2034. The objectives of the agreement are focused on achieving inflationary stability, exchange rate stability and fiscal consolidation by gradually eliminating the fiscal deficit. These policies will be accompanied by competitive pricing, income and interest rate policies. The specific objectives are “to achieve a primary deficit of 2.5% of GDP in 2022, falling to 1.9% of GDP in 2023 and 0.9% of GDP by 2024”. Finally, the agreement does not forecast a pension reform but does anticipate a decrease in the levels of assistance in energy tariffs.

La Nación: El Gobierno y el FMI cerraron un acuerdo por la deuda de US$45.000 millones
Argentina: El Gobierno Argentino cerró el acuerdo con el staff del Fondo Monetario Internacional y se enviará el proyecto de Ley al Congreso de la Nación

2. President Alberto Fernández inaugurated the ordinary sessions of the National Congress

On Tuesday, March 1, President Alberto Fernández inaugurated the ordinary sessions of the National Congress for the year 2022. During his inaugural speech, the President addressed the public in the presence of representatives of the legislative body, the judiciary and his cabinet. He emphasized the inheritance received, the vaccination campaign, the economic recovery, the social announcements, the negotiation of the debt and asked for the cessation of the military invasion of the Russian Federation over Ukraine. He also detailed that among the main objectives of the government for the current year are the increase of exports, industrialization with a focus on the gender perspective and environmental care, as well as to sustain and deepen the economic reactivation after the years of pandemic. It is worth mentioning that the act took place in a tense environment between the ruling party and part of the main political opposition group, Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change), which left the room in the middle of the act due to their disagreement with the President’s statements.

La Nación: Apertura de sesiones 2022: los cinco puntos claves del discurso de Alberto Fernández
Página12: Apertura de sesiones ordinarias del Congreso: el discurso de Alberto Fernández en la Asamblea Legislativa, minuto a minuto
Cronista: Apertura de sesiones | Alberto Fernández pidió apoyo al acuerdo con el FMI, que llegará esta semana al Congreso

3. The government announced increases in electricity and gas rates

Gabriela Cerruti, spokesperson for the Presidency, confirmed that within the framework of the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the rates for electricity and gas services will be updated, to be defined in public hearings in April. In order to calculate the increases, the coefficient of salary variation (CVS) will be used and a segmentation of residential users in three levels will be applied. On one hand, there will be users who will pay the full rate, without subsidies from the Government, which according to the President’s speech at the opening of the ordinary sessions will be approximately 10% of users. On the other hand, there will be users who are beneficiaries of the social tariff, for whom the total increase in their bill for each calendar year will be equivalent to 40% of the CVS of the previous year. And for the rest of the users the total increase in the invoice for each calendar year will be equivalent to 80% of the CVS corresponding to the previous year.

Ámbito: Las tarifas subirán en función de los salarios y habrá quita de subsidios
Infobae: Acuerdo con el FMI: se definió cómo será la segmentación de las tarifas de luz y gas

4. The government creates a wheat trust fund to intervene in the domestic market price

In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, international prices of commodities continue to rise, so the government announced the creation of a trust fund with the purpose of transferring 800 thousand tons of wheat to the domestic market in order to avoid a price increase and to ensure the supply of the domestic market. The measure was announced by the Secretary of Domestic Trade, Roberto Felleti, and the Undersecretary of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Fishing of the Nation, Delfo Buchaillot, who reached an agreement with authorities of the wheat sector on the implementation of said trust. “This tool makes it possible to guarantee the supply and price of basic foods such as dry noodles and flour 000, and to decouple prices to protect the consumption of Argentine men and women in a global context of war conflict, potential shortage of products and interruption of the supply chain, and with the international price of wheat high and sustained”, informed the Secretariat of Domestic Trade.

Ámbito: El Gobierno creó un fideicomiso para desacoplar los precios del trigo en el mercado interno
Clarín: El Gobierno anunció la creación de un fideicomiso de trigo para contener los precios de la harina y de los fideos

5. Argentine Foreign Ministry expressed its position on the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation for the invasion of Ukraine

Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero expressed the official position of the country regarding the sanctions imposed by NATO member countries on the Russian Federation in connection with the invasion of Ukraine. In this sense, the official stated that “Argentina is calling for peace, to de-escalate the conflict, so we do not consider that bilateral sanctions are a mechanism to generate peace or harmony”. This international conflict generates new political tensions between the opposition and the ruling party, which became visible in the inaugural speech of the Ordinary Sessions of the Congress, delivered by President Alberto Fernández.

Cronista: Guerra Rusia-Ucrania: Argentina definió su postura sobre las sanciones económicas contra Putin
Infobae: Cafiero aseguró que Argentina no se alineó a la OTAN y se mantiene neutral ante la invasión de Rusia a Ucrania