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Argentina seeks Biden support in debt talks with ‘inflexible’ IMF


By Eliana Raszewski

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina has directly asked U.S. President Joe Biden for support in the country’s talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to revamp its $44 billion debt deal, in a letter signed by regional leaders from Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere.

The South American nation, battling dwindling foreign currency reserves, 100%-plus inflation and a major drought that hammered its main exports soy and corn, is hoping to accelerate payouts from the IMF and ease some economic targets in the deal.

The letter, also backed by the leaders of Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Bolivia, indicates an escalation of tensions in the talks with the IMF, a multinational lender in which the United States has the largest single voting share.

“The IMF’s inflexibility to review the parameters of the agreement in the context of the drought we’ve described runs the risk of turning a liquidity problem into a solvency one,” the letter shared by Argentina’s government on Twitter said.

“For these reasons, we ask you with respect and affection to support Argentina in the negotiations that it is carrying out.”

Argentina, the IMF’s largest debtor by far, first struck a $57 billion loan program in 2018 under former conservative leader Mauricio Macri. That was replaced by a new $44 billion deal agreed last year under current President Alberto Fernandez.

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Adam Jourdan)

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