IMF increases loan amount to Argentina

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund on Friday increased to $56.3 billion a $50 billion it had granted to Argentina in June.

The announcement now allows Argentina to immediately draw $5.7 billion, which brings the total disbursements since June to $20.4 billion, the IMF said in a press release.

The IMF says that when it announced plans to increase the loan in September, it originally referred to $57.1 billion because that was the amount in Special Drawing Rights (SDR), a basket of currencies used by the fund as a unit of account.

The same amount of SDR equaled Friday to $56.3 billion.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri is trying to halt economic turmoil that has caused the steep depreciation of the Argentine peso and that is why earlier this year he sought help from the IMF for the first time in two decades.

But after getting a $50 billion loan in June the Argentine peso kept depreciating and the run on the currency prompted Macri to seek even more money from the international lending institution.

The announcement of the loan, the largest of its kind by the IMF to a country, comes one day after Argentina’s lower house passed a 2019 budget bill that includes tax hikes, government cuts and other measures aimed at eliminating the fiscal deficit next year.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Some protesters opposed to the proposed measures clashed with police outside the congressional building on Wednesday.

Argentines have bad memories of the IMF and blame it for a dire economic crisis in 2001.

Argentina has been hit by a sharp depreciation of the peso amid double-digit inflation, with the currency losing more than half of its value this year.


Luis Alonso Lugo on Twitter: