IMF chief says hopes Argentina can avoid "red card" over data

WASHINGTON Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:07pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the International Monetary Fund said on Monday she hoped Argentina could avoid IMF sanctions over its flawed economic data and has three months to improve the quality of its growth and inflation statistics.

"If no progress has been made, then the red card will be out," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told a Washington audience, drawing from a soccer analogy for penalizing players.

"I was quite comforted to see the Argentinian authorities' reaction over the weekend ... of their determination to work cooperatively with us," she said. "I hope we can avoid the red card but if the data is not suitable, not appropriate, does not meet the standards, then all players are the same ... despite how good they are at soccer," she added.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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