March 5, 2020 / 10:42 PM / 25 days ago

IMF says Argentine talks 'productive' as visit ends; but details scarce

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - An International Monetary Fund team currently in Argentina has held “productive” talks with local officials, a spokesman said on Thursday, though there was little detail on concrete progress about reaching a deal over the country’s debt crisis.

The IMF spokesman said a team in Buenos Aires would complete its trip on Friday and return to Washington to push forward with technical work.

“Exchanges have been and remain very productive,” he said in written comments sent to Reuters. “We will communicate more details about next steps once we have more information.”

The IMF, which extended a $57 billion credit facility to Argentina in 2018, has said the South American country’s debt levels are unsustainable and that its many private creditors will likely need to take losses amid restructuring talks.

Reaching a deal with the IMF over repayments to the fund will be crucial for Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, who wants to strike an agreement with bondholders by the end of March, an ambitious time frame.

Argentina is facing billions of dollars in foreign currency debt repayments this year, which Fernandez says the country cannot currently make until the grains exporting powerhouse is given time to revive stalled economic growth to raise funds.

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Dan Grebler

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