By Jorgelina do Rosario

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) – Technical staff of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will brief the executive board on Friday on Argentina’s request to ease foreign exchange reserve targets for this year, an official told Reuters. source with direct knowledge of the case. .

IMF staff and Argentinian authorities reached an agreement this week on the fourth review of its $44 billion lending program and filed a request to revise the net international reserve targets the country is struggling to meet. .

The South American country, the IMF’s biggest borrower, has suffered a severe drought that has slumped production of soybeans and maize, its main exports, which will rob it of billions of dollars in foreign exchange earnings this year. .

The briefing reflects the added complexity of securing executive approval for the deal at the “staff” level after the request for relaxation of economic targets which, if achieved, allow disbursements to the country.

The source, who asked not to be named, said the briefing was part of the process leading to the approval of a review of the program when it involved requesting changes to the measurable terms of the loans, known as quantitative performance criteria.

An IMF spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Argentina’s low net reserves, estimated at $4.2 billion in late February by Buenos Aires-based firm FMyA, threaten its ability to meet payments and avoid a tenth sovereign default after a major restructuring with creditors in 2020.

As part of the third program review, Argentina has set itself the goal of increasing its net reserves to $5.5 billion by the end of March and to $9.8 billion by the end of the year. ‘year.

Neither the IMF nor the government has made public the planned new targets. (Reporting by Jorgelina do Rosario; Translated by Nicolás Misculin; Editing by Jorge Otaola)

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