IMF says landmark debt deal will help Argentina

Friday 30 May 2014 17.29
IMF chief Christine Lagarde welcomes Paris Club debt deal for Argentina
IMF chief Christine Lagarde welcomes Paris Club debt deal for Argentina

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde has cautiously welcomed steps taken by Argentina to settle a decade-old falling out with creditors, following a $10 billion deal this week.

Argentina has been frozen out of international debt markets since a massive default in 2001.

That led to the IMF and the government severing ties amid public anger at the Washington-based lender.

Stressing that the IMF was not party to yesterday's agreement, which will see the South American nation to clear arrears and resume debt payments, Lagarde said it could help Argentina "normalise its situation".

"I see this as part of a process through which Argentina is trying to regain position on the international scene," she said.

"It is part of an attempt by Argentina to normalise its situation. We hope that number one, it benefits them and number two, that they continue that process," she continued. 

The representatives of official creditors in the Paris Club "agreed on an arrangement to clear debt in arrears due to Paris Club creditors over a five-year period", the club said yesterday.

Lagarde said while the IMF was very closely working with the Paris Club on all issues, "on Argentina we could not possibly comment, issue a statement, assess a situation over which we had no information."

"The IMF certainly hopes that it will improve the situation of Argentina on the international scene," Ms Lagarde said.

The Paris Club is an informal group of financial officials from 19 of some of the world's biggest economies, which provides financial services such as, debt restructuring, debt relief, and debt cancellation to indebted countries and their creditors. Its permanent members include the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Italy as well as Ireland.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has released $4.6 billion in aid to Greece, after a year-long delay to ensure Athens was meeting targets set by bailout lenders.

The disbursement followed Greece's successful return to debt markets in April, raising $4.2 billion as commercial lenders see decreased risks in the country's finances.