| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Former IMF official says Argentina will not pay the Fund

Argentina will “not pay” the International Monetary Fund, according to a former IMF official, and any agreement reached between the two would be a “temporary Band-Aid” that will only postpone a bank run in the South American country.

“Argentina will not make a payment to the IMF. Argentina’s macro-micro institutional strategies will be ineffective “Alejandro Werner, who led the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department for over a decade until stepping down in August, said this.

Argentina is negotiating a new program to replace one that failed in 2018, leaving it as the Fund’s largest debtor by far, owing $45 billion in payments. Payments of over $19 billion are due next year if the current agreement is not amended.

On Thursday, Werner remarked at an event held by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum on the economic future of Latin America, ” “We’re exaggerating the IMF program since it’ll only be a temporary Band-Aid to keep expectations in check and postpone the bank run for four months. Then everything will fall into place because look at these people… What can you expect from this administration?”

“The best thing with an IMF program we’ll have four months in which they will pass one review and that’s kind of it,” Werner said on Thursday.

“We will go back to arrears or quasi-arrears. At the end of the day, it’s not going to be an instrument for good policies and from the flows side it is not going to change anything.”

Neither the IMF nor the Argentine government immediately responded to requests for comment.

An Argentine government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the high sensitivity of the matter, said: “It’s strange to see a former IMF official make comments like these so soon after leaving the Fund.”

Argentine dollar-denominated bonds were trading marginally lower on Friday, with prices deep in distressed territory, between 31 and 36 cents on the dollar, according to Refinitiv data.

  • Reuters