Journalist: How do you analyze Sergio Massa’s tour of the United States?
Claudio the loser: Basically, I think things went well. It has restored diplomatic relations with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is very important. He also made contact with the World Bank, another major potential provider of financing, and I think they both had the same message: “Look, you have to stay within the agreement with the IMF and we’re helping you.” This is what it should be.
Q: How do you think the planned meeting with Kristalina Georgieva can end?
majority.: We have to see how this meeting turns out, but I imagine he must have already been in contact with Ilan Goldfine (the director of the Western Department of the IMF) and other technical people. I think it’s fine. He does what Guzmán said he would do, but in a more timid way, and he does what Silvina Batakis said he would do, only Massa does it.
Q: You obviously have more political capacity to do that…
CL: I think so. I am not referring to the technical prong, there are many economists who can give the same recipe.
Q: How would you rate the people who accompany Massa from an artistic point of view?
CL: I don’t think it is better or worse than the others. As far as I know, he has good people and was always surrounded by people like that. We have to see how this is done at the political level. It is no worse than the other teams. Oftentimes, when there are too many “prima donuts” who want to show off, working as a team becomes more difficult.
Q: The government will not ask the IMF to amend the goals and will try to comply with what has been agreed upon. Do you think this is true or should we require some modification?
CL: I think some changes should be made to the base numbers, but not to the goals. Inflation was higher than expected and the numbers are different. It will be necessary to adapt to that, but I don’t think you want to get over that. The goals were, in my opinion, between very reasonable and soft.
Q: Assuming that a target cannot be achieved at the end of the year, especially the accumulation of reserves, do you see the possibility of the government negotiating a waiver?
CL: To request a waiver, the government should explain it well. In this sense, it can be emphasized that the IMF is not static. The box looks well at the numbers. When they do the next review, they can make some adjustments to the goals and another in December, to avoid having to ask for a waiver.
Q: They say in cases like Argentina, which is an unreliable creditor, it is better to try to overreact…
CL: surely. If they go above and beyond in achieving these things, that’s a very, very important plus point.
Q: By the end of the year, the IMF is trying to launch a new resilience fund with SDR from countries that don’t use it, but it’s having a hard time setting up the trust fund.
CL: Of course because it is not money from the organization. It is donations from countries with a lot of SDR, which has a strong position. It is difficult for them to release the money.
Q: Can Argentina qualify for these funds?
LL: From a technical point of view, yes. I don’t really know if there is sympathy from that. It could be as high as $1.3 billion, which sounds like a lot but not a lot. But the aim of this fund is not to help countries in crisis, but to help countries in real difficulty, mainly low-income or middle-income. Argentina is right at the limit. Perhaps there is not much sympathy to say that Argentina has access. I think there is a matter of priority. There are 80 countries under Argentina. They will have to come up with something very reasonable.