Argentina says IMF deal 'imminent'; could go to Congress within days

Argentines march against the government's agreement with the IMF, in Buenos Aires
A general view shows a protest against the government's agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Buenos Aires, Argentina February 8, 2022. REUTERS/Miguel Lo Bianco/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Argentina is poised to "imminently" send an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the country's Congress for approval, government spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti said on Thursday, signaling the critical debt deal is drawing near.

The South American country reached an understanding with the IMF in late January over a new deal to help push back over $40 billion in debts the country owes and cannot pay. That agreement still needed to be ironed out before getting final approval.

"We hope it will happen in the next few days, so we have to wait just a few more days or a few more hours," Cerruti told a news conference when asked about submitting the agreement to Congress.

"Let's say it's imminent, I couldn't tell you exactly when."

Argentine President Alberto Fernández needs Congress to approve the details of the deal, with pressure rising ahead of repayments to the IMF of over $2.8 billion due mid-March. The deal will also need to be approved by the IMF's board.

In January, Argentina's government announced it had reached an understanding in principle with the IMF to replace a $57 billion failed loan granted in 2018. The IMF head Kristalina Georgieva said then there was still much work to be done.

Reporting by Agustín Geist and Walter Bianchi; Editing by Eliana Raszewski and Tomasz Janowski

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