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Argentina gets first US$15b from IMF

[BUENOS AIRES] Argentina on Friday received US$15 billion, the first tranche of a US$50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to help stabilise its fragile economy, the South American nation's central bank said.

Following a currency crisis in April and May, the IMF announced the US$50 billion standby loan in early June after Latin America's third largest economy sought help to bolster market confidence.

The peso plunged to a record low this month, and since the start of the year the currency has dropped more than 30 per cent against the US dollar.

On Wednesday the Washington-based IMF approved the US$50 billion aid package. It said the first US$15 billion will contribute to budget support while the US$35 billion balance will be "precautionary".

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The fund said that its assistance would back efforts by Buenos Aires to put public debts on a sustainable path, reduce the need for financing and tackle inflation while strengthening the central bank's independence, while maintaining social spending.

Argentina has a bitter history with the global crisis lender, which many Argentines view as having imposed tough conditions that worsened economic pain 17 years ago.