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Argentina announces $50bn standby deal with IMF

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Argentina announces $50bn standby deal with IMF

Treasury minister Nicolas Dujovne
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Argentina has announced it has reached a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a three-year standby lending deal worth $50 billion.

The government said it wanted the arrangement as a safety net to avoid the frequent economic crises that have struck the country in recent years.

Treasury minister Nicolas Dujovne said this was 11 times greater than Argentina's quota which reflected the support of the international community for country.

"It is very good news, the integration of Argentina with the world allows us to have this level of support," he said.

"This measure will ultimately lessen the government financing needs, put public debt on a downward trajectory, and as President Macri has stated, relieve a burden from Argentina's back," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement.

The deal marks a turning point for Argentina, which for years shunned the the lender after a devastating 2001-2002 economic crisis that many Argentines blamed on IMF-imposed austerity measures.

President Mauricio Macri's decision to seek IMF help now has led to fresh protests in the country.

But the assistance was requested after the peso currency weakened sharply last month in an investor exodus from emerging markets.

As part of the agreement, Argentina's government pledged to speed up plans to reduce the fiscal deficit.

That will be even more of a challenge because the authorities predict lower growth and higher inflation in the coming years.