© . FILE PHOTO: A general view shows a protest against the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Feb. 8, 2022. Photo taken with a drone. REUTERS/Miguel Lo Bianco/File Photo by Jorge Otaola and Adam Jourdan BUENOS AIRES () – Argentina’s deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to refinance more than $40 billion in debt draws closer to completion despite protests in the south American country that has a long and uneasy history with the global lender. The two sides have been in grueling negotiations for more than a year to renew a failed $57 billion facility agreed in 2018 under former conservative president Mauricio Macri, which was unable to prevent Argentina from entering a crisis. debt, currency and economic crisis. A final deal worth $40-45 billion looks likely in the coming weeks after an “agreement” with the IMF in late January. The deal would still require approval and support from the IMF’s board of directors in Argentina’s Congress, which some lawmakers have openly opposed. “We understand it could be soon,” presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti told reporters when asked if they wanted to send the agreement to Congress. “We are going to reach the best possible agreement that will help us resolve the largest debt Argentina has ever incurred, as well as the largest debt the IMF has ever issued.” The sluggish talks have led to equities and government bonds in distressed territory even after a major $110 billion debt restructuring with private creditors in 2020. NOT YET NOT THERE YET Some local media reported a deal could be as early as this weekend. coming, although officials spoke privately of this possibility, indicating it would likely be later this month. “It is my understanding that an agreement on the IC (letter of intent) would be sealed next Friday and sent to Congress after March 1, an official said. Another government official with knowledge of the talks said: “We will continue to work. No news is expected over the weekend. Of course it is closer and we will have to be on alert next week or next week.” Both sides are eager to strike a deal before the major payments of the 2018 deal are due next month, as the country grapples with depleted foreign exchange reserves and a drought weighing on cereal crops, its main export. Argentina’s central bank on Thursday raised its benchmark interest rate to 42.5%, the steepest rise since 2019, with the aim of curbing annual inflation now above 50% and moving towards positive real interest rates. Ayelen Romero, an account manager at Rava Bursátil, a local brokerage, said investors were hopeful a final deal was near, which could help bolster markets. “It appears that the final signing with the IMF and the end of negotiations on the agreement are approaching,” she said. Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data on this website is not necessarily real-time or accurate. All CFDs (Stocks, Indices, Futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and therefore prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price meaning prices are indicative and not suitable for trading purposes . Therefore, Fusion Media does not bear any responsibility for any trading losses that you may incur as a result of using this data. Fusion Media or anyone associated with Fusion Media accepts no liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any information, including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals on this website. Be fully informed about the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest forms of investment possible.