IMF making progress on new Argentina crisis loan deal

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 04, 2018 Argentine President Mauricio Macri attends the closing ceremony of the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA) 24th annual meeting, in Buenos Aires. September 9, 2018 Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s government will continue discussions with the International Monetary Fund this week as efforts to stave off an economic crisis multiply. / AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA

International Monetary Fund officials are “making important progress” on a new crisis loan deal for troubled Argentina, which continues to see its currency decline, the fund said Monday.

The team in Buenos Aires continues work to agree on a new package of measures that would allow rapid approval by the board of the lending institution, the IMF said in a statement.

The IMF and Buenos Aires agreed in June on a three-year, $50 billion rescue lending program but Argentina has since asked for a more rapid disbursement.

The IMF mission has held meetings with the economic team and central bank in Buenos Aires over the past week and “important progress is being made toward strengthening Argentina’s economic policy plan, supported by a Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF,” the statement said.

“We are working hard to conclude these staff-level talks in short order and present a proposal to the IMF Executive Board.”

Buenos Aires has received $15 billion so far but any changes will require the approval of the IMF board.

Argentina’s Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne has denied that Buenos Aires is seeking additional funding beyond the amount already agreed to.

President Mauricio Macri is under increasing pressure as the peso has plunged — despite intervention from the central bank — and the recession worsens.

And he is facing growing opposition from the public for seeking help from the IMF, which has a bitter history in the country and is blamed for past economic woes.