By Hernan Nessi
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s government will this week send an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to delay debt repayments to the South American country’s Congress for approval, President Alberto Fernandez said on Tuesday.
The South American country reached an understanding with the IMF in late January over a new deal to help push back over $40 billion in debts the country owes and cannot pay. That agreement still needed to be ironed out before getting final approval.
In opening remarks to Congress, center-left Fernandez said “starting this week we hope that it will be in the hands of national lawmakers to consider approving the agreement reached with the staff of the International Monetary Fund.”
Fernandez needs Congress to approve the details of the deal, with pressure rising ahead of repayments to the IMF of over $2.8 billion due mid-March. The deal will also need to be approved by the IMF’s board.
In January, Argentina’s government announced it had reached an understanding in principle with the IMF to replace a $57 billion failed loan granted in 2018. IMF head Kristalina Georgieva said then there was still much work to be done.
Fernandez also announced to lawmakers on Tuesday the extension of a currency swap with China to boost the Argentine central bank’s reserves.
Two sources from the economy ministry told Reuters the government is working on the final details of the agreement.
“They’re working hard and we hope it can be done soon and sent to Congress… we’ll see if it can be ready tomorrow,” said one of the sources.
(Reporting by Hernan Nessi; Writing by Anthony Esposito and Carolina Pulice; Editing by Bernard Orr and Jane Wardell)