Thursday 18 December 2014

Argentina faces expulsion from IMF and economic pariah status

Published 17/12/2012 | 12:00

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's action on oil company Repsol has sent a negative signal to international investors, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said. Photo: Reuters

ARGENTINA could be expelled from the global economic community for repeatedly failing to provide accurate inflation and growth data.

The threat of expulsion comes two months after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that Argentina had "not brought itself into compliance" over the "quality of the official data reported to the Fund" and warned that there could be repercussions.

The IMF set a deadline of Monday for the country to comply. Argentina is yet to respond.

Ejection from the 188-member club could mean the country loses access to vital international credit lines. It will also be the first time a country has been expelled since the former Czechoslovakia was kicked-out in 1954 for "failing to provide required data".

A resolution requiring a country to withdraw from the IMF would need the support of governors representing 85pc of voting rights.

Argentina, led by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, reported 8.9pc GDP growth in 2011 but independent analysts maintain the government overstated that number by as much as three percentage points.

Official inflation data show prices rising at around 10pc, but independent assessments have prices rising at 25pc and more.

The government has denied any data manipulation.

Relations between the IMF and Argentina have been strained for more than a decade. In 2004, Ms Kirchner's late husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner blamed the fund for Argentina's 2001 debt default, which triggered a major financial crisis and pushed half the population into poverty.

In 2006 Buenos Aires repaid all of its IMF loans and effectively severed ties with the fund by refusing to allow IMF officials to conduct annual economic checks.

Szu Ping Chan, Telegraph.co.uk

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