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Friday, 16 August, 2002, 22:52 GMT 23:52 UK
Argentina in fresh plea to IMF
Protests in Argentina
Argentines are angry at their plunge into poverty
Argentina has submitted a fresh request for financial aid from the International Monetary Fund, hoping for a cash injection to stabilise its troubled economy.

Argentine economy minister Roberto Lavagna said on Friday he had asked for fresh loans in a draft letter to IMF deputy managing director Anne Krueger.

Mr Lavagna did not say much money he asked the IMF for, but officials have previously said they need enough to cover $7bn in aid repayments that fall due this year.

The IMF cut off most financial support to Argentina late last year after the country defaulted on its $140bn debt.

Hard-line stance

The institution has held out against repeated calls for bail-out money since then, saying it will not resume lending until Argentina pushes through reforms aimed at cutting spending and controlling inflation.

Argentina has in turn refused to start debt restructuring talks with foreign creditors until it reaches a deal with the IMF.

Critics of the IMF have argued that its hard-line stance on Argentina contrasts with its decision earlier this month to throw the ailing Brazilian economy a $30bn lifeline - the biggest loan the institution has ever advanced.

Last December's debt default plunged Argentina's economy - already battered by four years of recession - into a full-blown crisis which has seen the peso lose 70% of its value against the dollar so far this year.

A government-imposed freeze on savings withdrawals has saved the banking system from collapse, but has imposed severe hardship on cash-strapped Argentine consumers, triggering frequent and occasionally violent street protests.


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07 Aug 02 | Business
08 Aug 02 | Business
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