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  • Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, and Mauricio Macri, Argentine president, met on March 16 in Buenos Aires.

    Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, and Mauricio Macri, Argentine president, met on March 16 in Buenos Aires. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 June 2019

According to Lagarde, Argentina's inflation rate is taking "longer than expected" to improve as prices have risen by 55.8 percent in the last 12 months.

Managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, admitted Wednesday that her organization had "underestimated the incredibly complicated" economic situation in Argentina, as the economic recession in the Latin American nation deepens.

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In 2018, Argentine President Mauricio Macri negotiated a US$56.3 billion loan with the IMF to be paid in a three-year period, the biggest disbursement in the institution’s history. As part of the conditionalities imposed by the agency, Macri’s Administration implemented a strong neoliberal program with harsh austerity measures. 

Yet contrary to fixing the economy, the Latin American country has gone into a deeper recession. According to Lagarde, Argentina's inflation rate is taking "longer than expected" to improve as prices, which have risen by 55.8 percent in the last 12 months, have increased by 15.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019 alone. 

As Macri’s economic policy takes a toll on the population, the economy continues its downward spiral. Argentina's statistics agency published a study on March 28, which shows that 32 percent of the population lives in poverty and 6.7 percent in extreme poverty. 

While a recent study conducted by the Argentinean Ombudsman's Office for the Senior population estimates that since April 1, 2019, approximately 70 percent of pensioners are unable to cover basic need products, included in their market basket. 

Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced on April new policy measures aimed at abating an out-of-control inflation rate that hit 54.7 percent in March, the highest since 1991. Government officials said they had reached a “deal" with 16 corporations to maintain a "price freeze" on 60 basic products over the next six months, until October. 

The measure has been dubbed by many as a mere political tactic as presidential elections will be held on October 27 and Macri seeks a reelection bid. 

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