The vice grip on Argentina’s economy loosened on Friday after the International Monetary Fund said the country has its “full support” in the wake of its financial crisis in which interest rates have spiked stratospherically and its currency has gone the opposite direction to bottom-feeding levels against the U.S. dollar.
Chief IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said in a statement on Friday that a delegation would meet with Argentine officials next week to formulate a “revised economic plan.” The statement comes after Argentina president Mauricio Macri requested an early release of funds from a $50 billion bailout package.
“We are confident that the strong commitment and determination of the Argentine authorities will help the country overcome the current difficulties,” Rice said.
My statement today on talks with Argentina: pic.twitter.com/PhzbdWjaVF
— Gerry Rice (@IMFSpokesperson) August 31, 2018
The bailout package was a cause of contention for students and university professors who rallied in Buenos Aires to protest austerity measures, such as budget cuts to educational programs as part of the bailout. According to a survey conducted in May, 75% of survey respondents cite the IMF’s bailout funds as helping to spur the country’s financial crisis in 2001.
The local currency, the Argentine peso, fell by 13.5% against the dollar on Thursday –in totality, the currency has lost over 50% of its value since the beginning of the year. The Central Bank of Argentina elevated interest rates from 45 to 60% to help stymie the falling currency.