The IMF postponed the start of its 2018 credit evaluation mission. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Independent Evaluation Office (OEI) of the International Monetary Fund postponed until 2024 the start of its mission in Buenos Aires to interview officials involved in the negotiation of the 2018 Stand By loan, which had originally been announced for the last few days. of this month. This is a delegation from that office that seeks to investigate whether the IMF statutes were well applied for the implementation of that credit to Argentina, the largest in nominal terms in the history of the institution.
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This was confirmed to Infobae by sources from the OEI, who assured that in this way the start of the mission “has been postponed until the beginning of 2024, the conclusion of the entire evaluation is scheduled for the end of 2024,” mentioned the chief evaluator. Miguel de las Casas in response to a query from this medium.
The delegation of evaluators from the independent office of the IMF was mandated to initiate an investigation into the 2018 SBA loan, for USD 45 billion. It is a task that the IEO announced this year regarding different loans considered “exceptional access” to funds, that is, cases in which the IMF lent well above what corresponds to the debtor country of its quota as a member of the organization.
The Independent Evaluation Office (OEI) of the Monetary Fund postponed the mission to investigate the 2018 Stand By credit until early 2024
In the middle of the year, Infobae had reported that the OEI, which changed its authorities in October 2022, had placed the 2018 Stand By as one of the IMF loans that it intended to evaluate in the future. Although this is not an ad hoc examination of the Argentine case but rather of the high-amount loan regimes, among which Argentina is one of the examples that will be on the examination table.
The Spanish economist Pablo Moreno is the director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF
The Minister of Economy Sergio Massa had anticipated, at the beginning of the month, that the OEI would begin its mission at this point in November, although he had assured that its scope would also include the use that the Government of Mauricio Macri gave to the currencies that Washington transferred between 2018 and 2019 to the Central Bank.
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A few hours after that announcement, the OEI clarified what the formal objective of its investigation would be. “The evaluation will analyze the design and implementation of the main elements of the exceptional access policy, which include the four exceptional access criteria (which focus on the country’s balance of payments needs, the sustainability of its debt, its access to the markets and the prospects for success of the program), the reinforced procedures for decision-making, and the ex-post evaluations,” said De las Casas.
“In the course of IEO evaluations, it is common practice to visit relevant countries – in this case Argentina, among others – to gather the opinions of key actors at the national level on the issues evaluated. In this context, a visit to Argentina is planned, in principle, for the end of November. The entire evaluation is expected to be completed by the end of 2024,” the OEI official said.
This is not an ad hoc examination of the Argentine case but rather of the high-amount loan regimes, among which Argentina is one of the examples that will be on the examination table.
According to data compiled by the Independent Evaluation Office, more than half of the financial programs that had these characteristics failed or, as it is often called in the agency’s jargon, became off-track. Of 134 programs implemented by the IMF between 2002 and 2022, 96 had access to “normal” funds and 38 involved “exceptional” disbursements in their amount level. Of those 38, there are 11 that are still in force, among them that of Argentina.
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Now, regarding its effectiveness, there is a clear difference between one type of program and another. Of the 138 total programs, about 54 derailed. Of that total, 21 were agreements with exceptional access. Thus, 55% of programs with these characteristics can be considered failed under this criterion, against 33% of programs with “normal” access to funds.
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The deputy of the ruling party Alejandro “Topo” Rodríguez, who a few weeks ago presented a project for the Executive Branch to promote this OEI investigation, raised doubts about the independence of that office given the postponement of the mission in Buenos Aires.
“According to the IMF itself, the Independent Evaluation Office enjoys total autonomy from Management and carries out its functions in conditions of independence from the Executive Board, it seems that on this occasion autonomy and independence could suffer a faint” , mentioned the national legislator.
In this framework, it is expected that in the next few hours the president-elect Javier Milei will make contact with officials of the Monetary Fund during his trip to the United States that began this Monday. Accompanied by the former president of the BCRA and former Minister of Finance Luis Caputo, Milei will begin his international agenda, it is expected, with meetings with investors and officials from international organizations.
It is part of a first presentation that the libertarian will make about his Government plan, in which he could apply, in the first instance, a strong fiscal adjustment, a closure of the monetary issue to finance the Treasury and a plan to dismantle the stock of Leliq of the Central Bank. It would be his first step to prepare the ground for the elimination of the exchange rate.