BUENOS AIRES — Ending a three-year break in relations, Argentina agreed Wednesday to allow an evaluation of its economy by the International Monetary Fund, but on condition that it not interfere in domestic policy.
"It would be an evaluation, not an audit," explained Economy Minister Amado Boudou. "It would be to exchange information."
"Argentina wants to put an end to the quite unfortunate past in which governments accepted any condition that was imposed upon them," Boudou said on his return from an annual meeting of the Fund and World Bank held in Istanbul.
Argentina broke off ties to the Fund in 2006 when it paid off 10 billion dollars in debt in one lump sum, arguing that policies it recommended in exchange for financial support undercut economic growth.
But now Argentina urgently needs to reconnect with sources of sovereign credit, as the economy lags amid global recession, to raise an estimated 10 billion dollars next year, on the heels of 20 billion dollars this year.
"Negotiating with the IMF and the plan for returning to international markets is a valid effort," said Orlando Ferreres, of markets consultancy OJF.
Argentina's shift "opens up international credit markets, making it possible to secure international financing at lower rates," said Mariano Lamothe, top economist at market consultants Abeceb.com.
Boudou said he had not decided when an IMF technical mission would go to Argentina, nor did he specify under what conditions such a visit would take place.
Buenos Aires briefly became an international financial pariah in 2001 when it junked neoliberal economic policies from the 1990s and declared the biggest moratorium in history on some 100 billion dollars in debt.
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