February 9, 2020 / 2:37 AM / in 15 days

Argentina recession means no IMF debt payment, VP Fernandez says

HAVANA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said on Saturday that the government will not pay “even half a cent” of its debt back to the International Monetary Fund before the country has exited recession.

“The first thing we have to do in order to be able to pay is to exit the recession,” Fernandez de Kirchner said at a presentation of her book “Sinceramente” (Sincerely) at Havana’s international book fair.

“If there is a recession no-one will pay even half a cent and the way you exit recession is through a lot of state investment.”

Argentina needs to restructure $100 billion in sovereign debt with creditors, including part of a $57 billion credit facility that the IMF extended the country in 2018.

Dealings with the IMF are key as Argentina hopes to avoid a default amid a currency crash, steep inflation and a contracting economy. An IMF technical mission is expected in Buenos Aires next week to discuss obligations owed to the fund.

A leftist and militant Peronist, Fernandez de Kirchner has traveled frequently to Communist-run Cuba over the past year to visit her daughter Florencia Kirchner who is undergoing medical treatment there.

Her book presentation was attended by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and a raft of other officials.

The Argentine ex-president launched Sincerely, a compilation of personal anecdotes and reflections, in Argentina last year. (Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by David Gregorio)

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