, Roberto Cardarelli, mission chief for Argentina, left, and Alejandro Werner, director of the International Monetary Fund’s Western Hemisphere Department, hold a news conference at IMF headquarters in Washington, Friday June 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Luis Alonso Lugo)
08 of June 2018 20:35:11
WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund said Friday that fiscal targets set for Argentina as part of a $50 billion deal are possible but will require a strong commitment from the South American country.
Argentina and the IMF agreed Thursday on a three-year standby financing deal aimed at strengthening the economy as the country fights double-digit inflation.
The government said it would accelerate reductions in the primary fiscal deficit to balance the budget by 2020, and set a new inflation target of 17 percent for 2019.
"We're convinced that they are realistic measures, but they require a strong commitment by Argentine society," IMF Mission Chief for Argentina Roberto Cardarelli said Friday.
Argentines continue to lose purchasing power to high consumer prices, which have been rising an estimated 25 percent a year, one of the world's highest inflation rates.
President Mauricio Macri announced in May that his government was seeking a financing deal with the IMF following a sharp devaluation of Argentina's currency and a tough global economic outlook.
But turning to the IMF has brought back bad memories for Argentines who blame the policies of the lending institution for the country's worst economic crisis in 2001.
On Friday, the Argentina peso reached another all-time low of 25.80 per dollar after the government announced that it would stop its weekslong policy of intervening to defend the currency.