LatinNews Daily - 03 May 2022

In brief: El Salvador denies seeking IMF funds

*El Salvador’s government led by President Nayib Bukele has denied seeking funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), insisting that it is able to honour its debt commitments in the short and medium term. This would suggest a U-turn after El Salvador’s finance minister, Alejandro Zelaya, last year said the government was looking to secure some US$1.3bn in financing from the IMF through a 36-month Extended Fund Facility. The IMF has come out strongly against legislation which took effect in September 2021 making the cryptocurrency bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador, urging the government to remove its legal status. Zelaya said on 1 May however that the strategy implemented by the finance ministry would cover the US$498m budgetary gap for 2022 through bonds which are due to mature in 2023 worth US$800m. He said that the agreement with the IMF was one of various options but not the only one, adding that the government was “not seeking money but rather wanted cordial relations with all of the western hemisphere”.

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