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1000s protest Argentina’s belt-tightening measures as government nears IMF deal

© Reuters

Thousands of Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires on Thursday to protest against recently announced belt-tightening measures paving the way for a new deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The measures, announced by President Mauricio Macri on Monday, include eliminating government ministries, deep spending cuts and new taxes on exporters.

The IMF on Thursday said it aimed to wrap up talks to "strengthen" a $50 billion backup financing deal with Argentina "as rapidly as possible," as the country's peso and stocks climbed for a second straight day.

Carrying signs that said "Macri=Hunger" and "Enough Cuts!", the protesters, many members of union and leftist organizations, demanded Macri abandon talks with the IMF.

The center-right president warned his countrymen that poverty would increase as the economy was headed back into a recession, having just emerged from its last one in 2016. Inflation is expected to end the year at more than 40 percent.

Outside banking and finance circles, Argentina's talks with the IMF have revived painful memories of the 2001-2002 economic crisis that plunged millions into poverty, which many in Argentina blamed on IMF austerity terms for a bailout.

(Source: Reuters)

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