September 25, 2019 / 7:04 PM / 2 months ago

Argentina's Fernandez would seek 'friendly' negotiations with creditors if elected: adviser

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine presidential front-runner Alberto Fernandez would seek “friendly” negotiations with the country’s creditors if elected next month, a senior adviser told local news station C5N on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Argentinian presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez arrives at Camilo Jose Cela University in Madrid, Spain, September 3, 2019.REUTERS/Juan Medina

Argentina, headed for a general vote on Oct. 27, has been teetering on the edge of default since a sharp market crash in August, when Fernandez won a landslide victory in a primary against market-friendly incumbent Mauricio Macri.

The market crash forced Macri to announce plans to renegotiate the terms of around $100 billion of local and foreign debt, including with the International Monetary Fund, spooking creditors worried about losses.

The adviser, Matías Kulfas, an economist tipped for a spot in a Fernandez administration, said it was important to “clear the financial outlook with good, friendly negotiations with market players.”

“The idea is to be able to achieve a voluntary renegotiation with the market players, so that the debt as a whole can be re-profiled, and so we see that debt being sustainable in the future,” said Kulfas, who is close to Fernandez.

Investors are eagerly watching Fernandez and his team for signals about how the moderate Peronist politician will handle the country’s mountainous debt pile and creditor relations amid economic turbulence and tepid economic growth.

Fernandez, little known outside Argentine political circles, emerged as an unlikely candidate for the presidency earlier this year.

He has been critical of the IMF and said he would seek to renegotiate the country’s $57 billion credit facility deal with the fund to ease austerity measures that have hit Argentines hard.

The IMF is currently in protracted talks with Argentine officials over whether to approve the latest $5.4 billion installment of funds as part of the agreement despite the South American nation’s economic troubles.

“The proposal made by Alberto is that an alternative program must be devised (with the IMF),” Kulfas said, adding that the candidate agreed on goals including the need to quickly lower inflation, recover growth and reach a fiscal surplus.

Reporting by Gabriel Burin; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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