August 26, 2019 / 2:50 PM / 20 days ago

IMF to meet with advisers to Argentina opposition candidate

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 26 (Reuters) - A team from the International Monetary Fund was to meet on Monday with economic advisers to opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez, the front-runner for October’s presidential election, according to a spokesman for Fernandez.

The IMF team will sit down with at least four representatives from Fernandez’s “Frente de Todos” coalition, according to state-run news agency Telam.

Fernandez, a critic of Argentina’s $57 billion IMF standby agreement negotiated in 2018 by pro-reform President Mauricio Macri, has pledged to “rework” the program if elected.

His economic advisers told Treasury Minister Hernan Lacunza last week that Fernandez would seek an “alternative economic model” to the current administration’s policies.

Meetings between the IMF team and Argentina’s Treasury Ministry will also continue on Monday, a ministry spokesman said.

On Saturday, IMF officials met with Lacunza, who was appointed last week, and central bank President Guido Sandleris.

The IMF team announced its trip to Argentina on Friday, saying it planned discuss the “recent economic and financial developments” and the “government’s policy plans.”

Fernandez’s landslide victory in an Aug. 11 primary vote prompted the peso currency to fall by nearly 18% amid fears of a return to the interventionist economic policies of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is Fernandez’s vice presidential candidate.

The volatility calmed last week as both camps sought to reassure Argentines they were united in stabilizing the economy. The peso opened 0.29% weaker on Monday at 55.35 per U.S. dollar, traders said.

The Fund’s next scheduled review of Argentina’s lending program is on Sept. 15.

In its previous review of Argentina in July, the IMF warned there were “elevated” risks to the program, with peso weakness and political uncertainty likely to feed on each other. (Reporting by Nicolas Misculin and Cassandra Garrison; additional reporting by Walter Bianchi; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Dan Grebler)

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