El Salvador’s Bukele says expects IMF deal after next year’s election

SAN LUIS DE LA REINA, El Salvador (Reuters) – Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said on Thursday he expects to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new financing program after next year’s general elections, which end in March.

“I would expect the deal to come after the elections,” Bukele told reporters at a press conference, adding that the negotiations with the lender have been “very productive.”

Last week, a senior IMF official characterized the talks in the same way.

Rodrigo Valdes, director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, described a recent mission to El Salvador as “a first step” toward reaching an agreement, but suggested that disagreements remain.

At the time, Valdez did not specify a time-frame for reaching a deal.

El Salvador’s presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for next February, with local elections set for the following month.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Kylie Madry)