• Agreement with creditors would be a "real plus" for Argentina
  • IMF "really supports" ongoing overhaul of statistics agency

The International Monetary Fund is "very encouraged" by Argentina’s policies under President Mauricio Macri, including the resumption of talks with holdout creditors, according to Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Macri is attempting to resolve a conflict with holdouts from debt restructurings in 2005 and 2010 that has kept South America’s second-largest economy estranged from international capital markets. The government announced Tuesday an agreement to pay $1.35 billion in cash to a group of Italian holders of defaulted bonds. 

"We are very encouraged to see that Argentina and its new leadership has taken the initiative to enter into negotiations with the creditors," Lagarde said in an online press briefing from Washington Thursday. "It’s been weighing on the country and if it results in a fair and balanced outcome that will be supportive of Argentina returning to the financial markets and restoring its financial position, it’s a real plus."

The IMF also supports Argentina’s overhaul of the national statistics agency and the government’s "determination for transparent data," she added.

Macri declared a "statistical emergency" in his first month in office and vowed to replace the consumer price index created by his predecessors. Argentina’s economic reporting has been questioned since 2007 after the administration replaced senior officials at the national statistics agency. Argentina went on to become the first country to be publicly censured by the IMF, in 2013, for publishing unreliable economic data.

Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland that Argentina wants to improve relations with the IMF and that the government has “nothing to hide,” in reference to allowing an Article IV review of the economy for the first time since 2006. Under Article IV of the IMF’s statutes, the fund conducts detailed annual assessments of a nation’s economy in conjunction with the government.

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