IMF’s Georgieva welcomes Argentina’s commitment to keep working on debt issue

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Argentina had agreed to remain engaged with the IMF in discussions over restructuring its debt. (Reuters)
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Updated 22 February 2020

IMF’s Georgieva welcomes Argentina’s commitment to keep working on debt issue

  • Argentina said the meeting with the IMF chief “deepened under- standing and set the stage for future talks”

RIYADH: IMF Managing Director Kristina Georgieva on Saturday said she had a “very fruitful exchange of views” with Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman about putting the country on a path to more sustainable and inclusive growth.

After meeting Guzman on the sidelines of a G20 gathering in Saudi Arabia, Georgieva said the Argentine government had agreed to remain engaged with the International Monetary Fund through formal consultations as it worked to “secure a sustainable and orderly resolution of Argentina’s debt situation.”

Argentina is facing tough negotiations with creditors and the IMF to restructure around $100 billion in debt that the country’s new Peronist government says that it cannot pay unless given time to revive stalled economic growth.

The IMF, which wrapped up a visit to Argentina earlier this week, has said the country’s debt situation had become “unsustainable” and that private creditors would need to make a “meaningful contribution” to resolve the crisis.

Georgieva said she had a good meeting with Guzman on Saturday as finance officials from the world’s 20 largest economies gathered in Riyadh, where concerns about Argentina and other troubled economies were high on the agenda.

She commended the efforts of the Argentine government to put in place policies aimed at stabilizing the economy and reducing poverty, and said the officials also discussed the Argentine authorities’ plans to secure a sustainable and orderly resolution of Argentina’s debt situation.

“In this context, I welcomed the Argentine authorities’ commitment to continue to deepen our engagement including through an Article IV Consultation and steps toward a Fund-supported program in the future. The modalities of these next steps will continue to be discussed,” she said.

An Article IV consultation is an IMF appraisal of a country’s economic and financial policies.

The Argentine government said Guzman’s meeting with the IMF chief “deepened mutual understanding and set the stage for future talks.”

“The minister informed the managing director of the government’s intention to initiate Article IV consultations, which the minister called a valuable step that will deepen mutual understanding between the Argentine government and the IMF on the way toward a new program with the agency,” it said.

Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

Updated 07 July 2020

Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

  • Policy recommendations to G20 aim to counter effects of pandemic

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as president of the G20 group of nations, has unveiled a six-point business plan to jump start the global economy out of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yousef Al-Benyan, the chairman of the B20 business group within the G20, told a webinar from Riyadh that the response to the pandemic -— including the injection of $5 trillion into the global economy — had been “reassuring.”

But he warned that the leading economies of the world had to continue to work together to mitigate the effects of global lockdowns and to address the possibility of a “second wave” of the disease.

“Cooperation and collaboration between governments, global governance institutions and businesses is vital for an effective and timely resolution of this multi-dimensional contagion transcending borders,” Al-Benyan said.

“The B20 is strongly of the view there is no alternative to global cooperation, collaboration and consensus to tide over a multi-dimensional and systemic crisis,” he added.

The six-point plan, contained in a special report to the G20 leadership with input from 750 global business leaders, sets out a series of policy recommendations to counter the effects of the disease which threaten to spark the deepest economic recession in nearly a century.

The document advocates policies to build health resilience, safeguard human capital, and prevent financial instability.

It also promotes measures to free up global supply chains, revive productive economic sectors, and digitize the world economy “responsibly and inclusively.”

In a media question-and-answer session to launch the report, Al-Benyan said that among the top priorities for business leaders were the search for a vaccine against the virus that has killed more than half-a-million people around the world, and the need to reopen global trade routes slammed shut by economic lockdowns.

He said that the G20 response had been speedy and proactive, especially in comparison with the global financial crisis of 2009, but he said that more needed to be done, especially to face the possibility that the disease might surge again. “Now is not the time to celebrate,” he warned.

“Multilateral institutions and mechanisms must be positively leveraged by governments to serve their societies and must be enhanced wherever necessary during and after the pandemic,” he said, highlighting the role of the World Health Organization, the UN and the International Monetary Fund, which have come under attack from some world leaders during the pandemic.

Al-Benyan said that policy responses to the pandemic had been “designed according to each country’s requirements.”

Separately, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said that it was “too early” to say if the Kingdom’s economy would experience a sharp “V-shape” recovery from pandemic recession.