November 4, 2019 / 7:03 PM / 3 months ago

Argentina's Fernandez says debt is a problem that must be resolved

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Argentina’s debt is a problem that the incoming administration must resolve, its president-elect, Alberto Fernandez, said on Monday, during a news conference in Mexico.

Argentina's President-elect Alberto Fernandez and Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador chat during a meeting at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico November 4, 2019. Press Office of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador/Handout via REUTERS

Speaking on his first overseas trip as the next president of the South American nation, Fernandez criticized the debt load his administration will inherit.

“The speed with which debt was taken on and the characteristics of the debt were impressive, because the debt is very large and it must be met in the very short term,” he said.

“That is what we have to try to solve.”

Argentina shoulders about $100 billion in sovereign debt.

The center-left Fernandez also had choice words for the International Monetary Fund, which he said was partly to blame for Argentina’s economic woes.

The multilateral financial organization extended a credit line of $57 billion to the recession- and inflation-racked country last year, when a run on the peso currency sparked concerns about a possible sovereign bond default.

“As we have said over and over again, the International Monetary Fund is also responsible for what is happening in Argentina, and we don’t like the monetary fund,” Fernandez said.

The IMF deal, negotiated with outgoing President Mauricio Macri, has been in limbo since the Aug. 11 primary election.

Fernandez’s bigger-than-expected margin of victory in the primary pummeled the peso currency and sparked fresh debt fears.

Argentina’s incoming president will continue his visit to Mexico on Tuesday with a speech at its largest public university.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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