By Jorge Otaola and Rodrigo Campos
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Argentina’s fourth review under its $44 billion loan program on Friday, unlocking the disbursement of $5.4 billion to the indebted country, the lender said in a short statement.
The IMF made no mention of Argentina’s request for easing reserve targets that have becoming increasingly difficult to meet amid a historic drought hitting the country’s grains exports, but said a longer statement would be released later.
The country’s central bank foreign reserves jumped by $2.5 billion on Friday versus a day earlier, data from the bank showed. That reflected the new IMF funds minus $2.7 billion of repayments Argentina had to make to the lender on Friday.
The IMF said its executive board had completed the fourth review of Argentina’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) which “enables an immediate disbursement” of funds to the country, taking the total given via the program to $28.9 billion.
A central bank source told Reuters the funds had arrived and been reflected in reserve levels. Those remain very depleted after drought has hit the country’s grains exports, its main source of dollars, and global inflation has pushed up costs.
“The disbursement from the Fund has entered and it will be reflected in the reserves, which rose more than $2.5 billion as a net effect after payments were made,” the source said.
(Reporting by Jorge Otaola, Rodrigo Campos and Jorgelina do Rosario; Writing by Adam Jourdan)