WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund has been thoroughly analyzing the measures announced on Sunday by Argentina, where the government imposed foreign exchange rate restrictions to try to stem the rising price of the dollar and the flight of capital.
“Today the Argentine authorities announced capital flow management measures with the aim of protecting exchange rate stability and the savers,” an IMF spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the organization’s staff was analyzing the measures in detail.
The spokesperson said that its staff would remain in “close contact” with the authorities in the period ahead and that the IMF would continue to stand with Argentina during “these challenging times.”
The Argentinian government’s official bulletin published on Sunday a decree signed by President Mauricio Macri outlining the new measures, which will come into effect on Monday, when financial operations in the country are set to resume.
The decree states that until Dec. 31, exporters must enter or operate in the foreign exchange market in the country under the conditions and deadlines established by the Argentinian Central Bank.
Official sources consulted by EFE said that firms will have to sell the foreign currency from their exports in the local exchange market exports within a maximum of five working days after collection or 180 days after the boarding permission.
They clarified that while there were no import restrictions, the companies would not be able to buy United States dollars to hoard.
Moreover, the decree states that the Central Bank will determine the cases in which foreign exchange purchases on the exchange market and transfers abroad will require prior authorization.
The government adopted these measures after the stock markets tumbled following the Aug. 11 primaries, in which Peronist presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez of the Frente de Todos (“Everyone’s Front”) party secured 47.78 percent of the votes, far ahead of the 31.79 percent obtained by Macri.
Besides severely affecting government bonds and stocks, panic among investors drove the price of the dollar by 35.8 percent in August.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Fernandez said that his country had entered “virtual default,” for which he blamed Macri’s government and the IMF.
“Now there is no one taking Argentine debt, or anyone who can pay it. Argentina is in a virtual, hidden default,” said Fernandez.
Last year, Argentina signed a $56.3 billion financial relief agreement with the IMF, of which $44.5 billion has already been disbursed.
Last week, an IMF team led by Division Chief Roberto Cardarelli held talks in Argentina with the South American country’s Finance Minister Hernan Lacunza and Central Bank President Guido Sandleris, according to the Washington, DC-based organization.