Argentina Asks IMF to Speed Up Payments From $50 Billion Line

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The Argentine peso tumbled again, even after the central bank hiked its benchmark interest rate by 15 percentage points to a dizzying 60 percent on Thursday in a bid to control rampant inflation and stem the currency's slide.

The peso's Thursday decline followed an earlier fall of 7% on Wednesday, culminating in the currency's steepest decline since it floated in 2015.

The peso closed down 13.2 percent at 39.25 per dollar on Thursday.

Nerves are frayed in Latin America's third-biggest economy as it struggles to break free from its notorious cycle of once-a-decade financial crises. The crisis left one out of every five Argentines unemployed and plunged millions of people into poverty.

Despite a US$50 billion International Monetary Fund support package, the Argentine peso is in free fall, inflation is accelerating, and the economy is heading toward yet another recession. Argentina had secured a Dollars 50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund earlier this year as the country faced a growing economic crisis.

Macri said that in the past week there have been "expressions of a lack of trust in the markets" about Argentina. Macri did not say how much he had requested from the Fund. IMF economists and technicians are in Argentina this week in meetings with government members to review portions of the agreement.

Macri had sought to soothe the turbulence in a statement before markets opened on Wednesday, assuring Argentines that help is on the way.

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"Authorities will be working to revise the government's economic plan with a focus on better insulating Argentina from the recent shifts in global financial markets, including through stronger monetary and fiscal policies", Lagarde said.

But the June deal has been slow to calm nerves about the country with an inflation rate of almost 30%, soaring twin deficits, and a currency crisis. His government has since announced more than $2 billion in budget savings, a process he promised to continue.

Everyday life is getting more expensive for Argentines, as the prices of many goods and services still bear a close relation to the U.S. dollar. That could hurt Macri's re-election prospects in next year's presidential race.

Under the constraints, which lasted for a year, people could not freely withdraw money from their accounts, making life very hard for ordinary Argentines.

In July the year-on-year inflation rate stood at 31.2%, up from 29.5% in June.

"The potential for a return of Peronism to Argentinian politics is one that will deeply concern the markets given the awkward relationship investors had with the Kirchner dynasty between 2003-2015.

"I think today's interest hike announcement will do nothing but leave investors even more jittery", said Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "I understand this, and I resolve on you to know I'm making all decisions needed to guard you", Macri acknowledged.

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