Buenos Aires :
Tens of thousands of people marched in Buenos Aires ahead of a general strike called to reject an austerity budget that Argentine President Mauricio Macri says is needed to secure IMF funds. Macri said that crisis-hit Argentina will receive additional funding from the International Monetary Fund and vowed to avoid a default.
Banging drums and waving banners that read “No to the IMF”, marchers converged on the central Plaza de Mayo in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace. “Mauricio Macri has stopped governing Argentina! Every measure he takes he has to consult the IMF,” one of the marchers, Joaquin Noya, said.
Macri’s centre-right government secured a three-year, USD 50 billion, IMF loan agreement in June to confront a currency crisis that has seen Argentina”s peso lose half its value against the dollar this year.
Argentina is currently negotiating an extension to that agreement and Macri said his government was assured of additional funding. “We are going to have more support from the IMF, although I cannot say how much because negotiations are ongoing,” Macri said in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly.
Analysts say the government wants to gain more flexibility to access funds sooner than expected as well as increase the amount available to ease investor concerns.
Macri, who is in New York to attend this week’s UN General Assembly, said he was trying to restore economic confidence. “We are working with the IMF team and we will present something that will bring confidence, more confidence than what we have had in the last 10 days when markets have turned around and things are moving better,” he said.