By Lucila Sigal and Eliana Raszewski
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s next government would not ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for any new loans if center-right presidential hopeful Patricia Bullrich prevails in next month’s general election, a top advisor to the candidate told Reuters.
Instead, the IMF’s top debtor nation with a long history of defaults would only seek to manage existing debt with the global lender, Facundo Martinez Maino said, as Argentina’s economy suffers a severe economic slump marked by triple-digit inflation and the steady deterioration of its local peso currency.
Bullrich, a conservative former lawmaker and security minister, is running against center-left candidate Sergio Massa and Javier Milei, a radical libertarian. Milei scored a shock first-place showing in August’s primary election. The general election will take place on Oct. 22.
Martinez Maino, part of Bullrich’s economic team, stressed in an interview that the candidate will seek the IMF’s support in a push to attract fresh investment for the ailing economy, South America’s second biggest.
“The only thing we want is for the private sector to have financing, the only thing we need is debt management. We do not need to take on new debt,” he said.
The advisor claimed that IMF officials would likely support Bullrich’s approach.
“This is our program, but the fund supports it (and) supported it. They told us, ‘If you win and put this program on the table and it begins to advance, we will be giving it the necessary support,'” said Martinez Maino.
The IMF’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the advisor’s remarks.
Former President Mauricio Macri, a member of Bullrich’s party, renegotiated a previous IMF loan deal for $44 billion in 2018.
Bullrich aims to grow foreign investment, said Martinez Maino, adding that he and the candidate’s would-be pick for economy minister, Carlos Melconian, will travel this week to New York to meet with banks and investors.