The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is set to visit Argentina in September on a consultation mission for the first time in 10 years in order to evaluate the country’s economic policies and investigate the country’s economic outlook. IMF representatives will arrive in the country on September 19th and will stay for 13 days.
The mission will be led by the director of the Western Hemisphere Department, Alejandro Werner, and a team of financial specialists. Their arrival is in compliance with the body’s Article IV, which calls for the organization to make regular annual inspections on member countries and make recommendations based on the resulting evaluations. Once they leave the country, the reports will go directly to the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, and its contents could be assessed in November.
Why have these reports not been done over the past 10 years? There was tension between the IMF and former President Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007), who explicitly rejected the IMF and held its encouraged neo-liberal policies responsible for Argentina’s 2001 crisis. Later, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner upheld Néstor Kirchner’s refusal to participate in the annual assessments after paying off the country’s debt with the IMF.
President Mauricio Macri has welcomed the IMF’s visit in an apparent effort to distance himself from the previous administrations and make Argentine credit more attractive to foreign investors. In addition, the government may be hoping that the new investigations lead to the IMF’s censure of Argentina being lifted: it was established in 2013 because the country did not provide accurate information on economic growth nor provide reliable figures on inflation.
Back in January, Macri and Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay said they would be opening Argentina’s doors to IMF audits once again. The IMF already sent a Technical Mission to Argentina in June this year to evaluate the quality of the official Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data. However, that visit is unrelated to the consultation that will take place in September.