The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) first consultation mission to Argentina in 10 years ends today and guess what: they like us now. This is not that shocking, considering that President Mauricio Macri comes after two presidents who made sport of criticizing the multilateral organization. Not calling them the devil was already a big step.
IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department Director Alejandro Werner, said that the Macri administration had taken on a “very important challenge” when it took office in December.
That is undoubtedly music to Macri’s ears since he, along with his main officials, has consistently blamed the economic woes the country is going through on what they have characterized as the “K[irchner]” inheritance.
In fact, Werner went on to use that exact phrasing when he said that the government received a “significant inheritance” that it must deal with in the coming years.
The Macri administration has tried to convey peace of mind to those who think this new relationship of besties with the IMF means the country will go back to implementing the policies that led to the 2001 crisis: “We do not need to pay attention to the IMF, but we have no reason to hide the numbers from them either,” Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay told Télam earlier this month.
The Western Hemisphere Department Director also criticized that, according to him, the country “relied to much on consumption-led growth and very little on investment.” Although all countries in the region increased public spending, in Argentina it was “on steroids,” he added.
“The changes to the macroeconomic, regulatory and business environment clearly have the characteristics to boost investments,” Werner added. But he also warned investments would come “slowly,” calling it part of an international pattern.
Werner said that lowering inflation levels is a process that can take “between four and ten years” and exemplified that “Chile and Colombia went through a slow process of the kind, which led to strengthening its currency.”
The IMF isn’t assisting the country at the moment, meaning the final report won’t be binding or anything although the mere fact of opening its books means Argentina could suddenly be eligible to receive more funds from international development banks.