Argentina, IMF reach deal to salvage debt program, unlock key funds

By Jorge Otaola and Eliana Raszewski

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -Argentina and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finalized the details of an agreement over the country’s embattled $44 billion loan program, unlocking a more-than-expected $4.7 billion, the fund said on Wednesday.

“Understandings were reached on a strengthened set of policies to restore macroeconomic stability and bring the current program back on track,” the IMF said in a statement.

Argentina, battling annual inflation heading toward 200% and net foreign currency reserves in negative territory, needed to revamp its huge IMF deal after the previous government missed various economic targets linked to the program.

The new government of libertarian President Javier Milei had been locked in talks with IMF officials in Buenos Aires since late last week, aiming to unlock the seventh review of the program and new funds for debt repayments.

The agreement announced on Wednesday will be brought forward for approval by the IMF’s executive board “in the coming weeks,” the lender said.

Speaking after the deal’s announcement, Argentine Economy Minister Luis Caputo said the agreement did not represent a new deal, but that the IMF expressed openness to a new debt program and more funding.

(Reporting by Jorge Otaola, Eliana Raszewski and Lucila Sigal; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Boyle and Rodrigo Campos; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Leslie Adler)