November 28, 2019 / 4:02 PM / 2 months ago

Argentina's Fernandez says doesn't want debt haircuts but priority on growth

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernandez said on Thursday he did not want to fall short on debt obligations even as his government puts a premium on growth.

FILE PHOTO: Argentina’s President-elect Alberto Fernandez arrives for a meeting with Uruguayan presidential candidate Daniel Martinez from the ruling party Frente Amplio, in Montevideo, Uruguay November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mariana Grief

Fernandez, who takes office on Dec. 10, will need to negotiate with creditors including the International Monetary Fund as Argentina buckles under the weight of about $100 billion in sovereign debt.

“I do not want to give haircuts to anybody, I do not want to stop paying what we owe,” Fernandez said while speaking at an Argentine industrial chamber event in Buenos Aires.

“We are going to pay the day we have grown, produced more, exported more and obtained the dollars with which to pay this debt.”

Still, Fernandez called the state of the country’s fiscal accounts “deplorable” and said much of its debt had been agreed to in a “delusional way,” taking aim at the economic policies of outgoing conservative President Mauricio Macri.

Macri lost his re-election bid to Fernandez in the October elections.

Fernandez hinted on Tuesday he may not seek an outstanding $11 billion from its $57-billion IMF loan as the South American country grapples to renegotiate its debts and avoid a painful default.

He told the IMF’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, last week he had a “sustainable” plan to meet creditor obligations as well as maintain growth.

Several factions of Argentina’s bondholders are jostling for influence ahead of restructuring talks with Fernandez, but some have said they are frustrated by a lack of clarify on the incoming government’s plans.

Fernandez has not yet named his economic team or set out how he will deal with potential debt restructurings.

Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Tom Brown

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