(Recasts with statement)
By Caroline Stauffer and Maximiliano Rizzi
BUENOS AIRES, Sept 28 Progress has been made in
correcting imbalances in Argentina's economy but sustained
growth would require more reforms, the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) said on Thursday after its first mission to the
country in 10 years.
Roberto Cardarelli, head of the mission, said in a statement
that improving governance and increasing the efficiency of
public spending would help lower the tax burden and reduce
The Sept. 19-29 visit came after President Mauricio Macri,
who took office in December, threw open Argentina's economy to
investors after 12 years of leftist rule, isolation from capital
markets, and government opposition to the IMF.
Cardarelli, division chief of the IMF's North America
Division, said Macri's government should be commended for its
commitment to bringing down inflation and reducing the fiscal
He said the policy changes had "unavoidably" had an adverse
near-term impact on Argentina's economy and that discussions
with officials had focused efforts on restoring growth, boosting
job creation and protecting vulnerable segments of society.
Argentina's government expects the economy to contract 1.5
percent in 2016 and grow 3.5 percent in 2017.
"Strong, sustained, and equitable growth will require the
implementation of an ambitious agenda of supply-side reforms,"
Cardarelli said in the statement.
Earlier, Alejandro Werner, director of the IMF's Western
Hemisphere Department, also praised Argentina's reform efforts,
saying investments would come "slowly... but in significant
magnitude in coming years" as a result.
The IMF last held a so-called Article IV consultation,
normally annual affairs for IMF members, in Argentina in July
2006. The IMF has also closely followed a revamp of Argentina's
statistics agency after declaring data under former president
Cristina Fernandez unreliable.
Many Argentines, however, share the previous government's
opinion that the IMF was at least partly responsible for the
economic crisis following its 2001 default, making the IMF visit
"We do not need to pay attention to the IMF, but we have no
reason to hide the numbers from them either," Finance Minister
Alfonso Prat-Gay said recently, according to state-run news
The IMF said in August it would likely lift its censure on
Argentina's data this year after changes were made in the way
gross domestic product and inflation are measured.
(Additional reporting and writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing
by Meredith Mazzilli and Bernard Orr)