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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 15:18 GMT
Argentina takes hard line on IMF
Argentine President Nestor Kirchner
President Nestor Kirchner may not start talks with the IMF just yet
Argentina is expected to take a tough stance when it resumes its negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on a new loan agreement shortly.

Local media said Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner had decided to delay a date for restarting talks after closing in on a deal to restructure its debt.

Argentina defaulted on its debt three years ago, the biggest sovereign default in modern history.

However, it is set to seal a $102.6bn (53.51bn) debt restructuring offer.

Positive result

Map of Argentina
A successful debt-swap could boost Argentina's economy
On Saturday, Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez confirmed that between 70% and 80% of bondholders had accepted the offer, which closed on Friday.

Preliminary data has indicated that 97% of Argentinian bondholders and 75% of foreign firms said yes to the debt restructuring offer.

Argentina suspended talks with the IMF last August on an extension to its loan agreement pending a restructuring of its debt.

Argentina's current three year $12.5bn credit agreement ends in 2006.

The IMF has demanded significant reforms to the Argentinian economy in return for its continued support.

However, Mr Fernandez has said multilateral institutions such as the IMF should revise "its orthodox prescriptions."

Even if the debt restructuring is successful, it will not solve Argentina's problems since its debt will still be over 80% of GDP.

Given this, many analysts believe Argentina needs to resume talks with the IMF as soon as possible to maintain the support of international financial institutions.

However, it is felt that the IMF is also in no hurry to resume talks if Argentina continues to pay its current obligations - totalling about $4bn this year - on time.

German creditors

Roberto Lavagna, Argentina's Economy Minister.
Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna will have the result on Thursday.
Confidence about the restructuring deal improved on Monday when one of the biggest foreign holders of the defaulted debt announced it had accepted the Argentine government's offer.

The Argentina Bond Restructuring Agency (ABRA) has agreed to recommend that defaulted bonds be exchanged for new ones.

ABRA, which represents German and Austrian creditors which hold about $1.2bn of Argentina's defaulted debt, originally rejected the offer.

However, it changed its position after seeing the high levels of acceptance.

"In light of the high anticipated acceptance level of the Argentine offer, the most viable alternatives to acceptance involved a significant time period before a successful resolution could be expected," ABRA said in a statement.


SEE ALSO:
Water firm Suez in Argentina row
24 Jan 05 |  Business
Argentina pins hopes on debt deal
14 Jan 05 |  Business
Timeline: Argentina
31 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
Q&A: Argentine debt swap
13 Jan 05 |  Business


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