The IMF believes that steps taken by Argentina to stabilize its currency and economy are working, spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters Thursday (December 12) in Washington.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde held discussions with Argentine President Mauricio Macri on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires last week. Rice characterized the talks as being positive steps with the IMF on how to implement a support package to help shore up the economy and restore investor confidence.
“Our view is that the authorities' revised and strengthened economic plan is in fact yielding positive results. I won't comment in terms of your question on stock markets going up and down on a daily basis, but broadly financial markets we feel have stabilized the deficit. The fiscal deficit has been tackled decisively,” Rice said.
Rice sought to reassure that the IMF and Argentina are in a partnership and that social protections remain in place, while noting that the IMF Board will meet December 19th to discuss the program’s fourth review.
“I think they all agreed that they key is now implementation and keep going forward with the program. So our view is that with this kind of implementation that there will be a return of confidence and indeed will lay the basis for a return of growth. So we think progress is being made. It's a difficult challenge, of course, that Argentina and the people of Argentina are facing, but the authorities have demonstrated a clear commitment and are implementing the program and we're going ahead with the Board meeting next week, which will be on more positive step,” Rice said.
Rice was also asked about the Bank of England’s recent report on the potential damage to the UK economy under a no-deal Brexit scenario. He restated the IMF assessment that Great Britain’s exiting from the European Union (Brexit) will have negative economic impact consequences for both sides.
“All likely BREXIT outcomes will entail costs for the UK economy by departing from the frictionless single market that exists today. And the higher the impediments, the higher the cost. So, and again, we've said this for some time, an agreement that minimizes uncertainty and trade barriers will be the best to support growth. And, you know, we've also said, I think I said here also a few weeks ago, that the hard BREXIT or the no deal BREXIT, leaving without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for the future relationship with the EU is the most significant near-term risk to the UK economy.”
And as UN-sponsored talks aimed at ending the conflict in Yemen edged toward a cease-fire agreement in Sweden, Rice said that the IMF will do what it can to support humanitarian relief and to restore economic stability.
“What can the IMF do? Well, we are actually providing technical assistance to the Yemeni Central Bank to identify its main capacity gaps. We are also supporting the authorities and donors in identifying measures that would help mitigate the situation there, including by facilitating imports of basic food staples and paying civil service wages in the whole of Yemen.”