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Mittwoch, 29. April 2015

IMF: Argentina must devalue, cut back to encourage growth

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

IMF: Argentina must devalue, cut back to encourage growth

By Liliana Franco

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has repeated its forecast of a 0.3 percent drop in Argentine GDP over the course of 2015, while recommending a devaluation of the peso and austerity measures in order to stimulate growth in the economy. 

In the report Economic Perspectives: The Americas, penned by Western Hemisphere director of the body Alejandro Werner and Roberto Cardarelli, IMF Chile mission chief, the international organisation reiterated its gloomy prediction for the Argentine economy. 

2016, according to the report, also promises little growth, with an increase of just 0.1 percent forecast. 

"Argentina maintained significant financial imbalances, following an extended period of fiscal expansion which has impacted hard on the financing of the Central Bank," the IMF claims. 

The body adds that restrictions on trade and the exchange market have also created a large gap between the official and black market dollar rates. It is admitted, however, that the gap has stablised since the end of 2014 between 40 and 50%, with inflation still in double digits but falling. 

Looking forward to the future, adverse trading conditions - particularly due to the drop in international soya prices - weak economic activity in Brazil and the strengthening of the real, according to the report, have generated more unfavourable conditions for growth in the Argentine economy, with a contraction of 0.3% expected for the current year. 

While the organisation believes that the country's economic travails are not as extreme as those faced in Venezuela, it affirms that Argentina would need a combination of measures similar to the Caribbean nation, with "tighter macroeconomic policies, a weaker exchange rate (that is to say, devaluation) and fewer microeconomic distorsions in order to lay the foundations for a return to stability and growth."

The IMF estimates inflation at 23.9% for last year, while projecting a deceleration in price rises to 20.5% for 2015 and 2016. However, a worsening of the fiscal deficit is also predicted, with the current account estimated to be in the red to the tune of 1.7% of GDP this year and 1.8% the following year. 

The primary fiscal deficit (without interest payments on debt) is calculated at 1.6% of GDP for 2015, falling to 1.4% the next year.

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