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IMF Briefed as Argentina Refuses Economic Assessment

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The International Monetary Fund’s board of directors was informally briefed on the economic situation in Argentina, which has refused to undergo an annual assessment since 2006.

The briefing by the IMF staff took place today, the Washington-based fund said in a statement. The statement initially said the briefing took place yesterday, but the fund later corrected the date. The 24 directors are scheduled to meet Feb. 1 to decide whether to censure Argentina for not providing accurate data on inflation and economic growth.

Argentina is the only member of the Group of 20 nations that is refusing to allow the IMF to do its annual mandatory review of the country’s economy, a procedure known as an Article IV consultation. Somalia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Madagascar are the other countries where there’s been no such assessment in more than 18 months, according to the fund.

“Informal sessions to brief the board based on information available are held approximately every 12 months for members whose Article IV consultations are delayed by more than 18 months,” the IMF said in today’s statement.

The last article IV for Argentina was in 2006. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, accused the lender of pushing South America’s second-biggest economy into a financial crisis that led it to default on $95 billion of bonds in 2001.

Private economists estimate Argentina’s inflation rate at 26 percent. Between soaring prices and the region’s worst performing currency, bond investors demand the highest return among major emerging markets to own Argentine debt. The country’s notes yield 1,090 basis points, or 10.90 percentage points, more than U.S. Treasuries, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBIG index.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sandrine Rastello in Washington at srastello@bloomberg.net; Ian Katz in Washington at ikatz2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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