Argentina: Only seeking financing from IMF to stem crisis

Argentina is not seeking other sources of financing outside the International Monetary Fund for help in curbing an economic crisis, the country's economy minister said Wednesday.

Argentina has asked the IMF for early disbursements in emergency funding from a $50 billion loan approved earlier this year. The country has been hit by one of the world's highest inflation rates and a currency crisis that has seen the peso depreciate by more than 50 percent so far this year.

Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne has been meeting with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. He said they have made great progress and expect to reach a deal in late September.

He declined to provide details, though he denied reports that Argentina is negotiating a credit line with the U.S. Treasury or searching for other sources of financing outside the IMF.

"I have enormous confidence in the progress that we've made these days," Dujovne said at a news conference in Washington after his second day of talks with the IMF.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he backs the Argentine government's handling of the crisis, which forced Argentine President Mauricio Macri earlier this week to announce austerity measures, calling it an emergency.

The tumbling peso has added to the country's inflation, which is expected to reach an annual rate of more than 40 percent. Economic analysts expect Argentina to plunge into a deeper recession and forecast even higher consumer prices and a weaker currency.

In a temporary relief to the embattled government, the peso strengthened Wednesday to close at about 39 pesos per U.S. dollar, compared to 39.5 a day earlier.

"The reformulation of the (IMF) program will help us leave behind these days of anguish and volatility and will slowly allow the opening of credit to Argentina," Dujovne said. "It will open the doors to private financing and that way we will be able to get back on the path of growth."