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Censured by IMF, Argentina improves economic data

Argentina has made a step toward repairing its relations with the International Monetary Fund with its reforms to long-distorted economic data on inflation and growth.

WASHINGTON: Argentina has made a step toward repairing its relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with its reforms to long-distorted economic data on inflation and growth.

More than a year after being censured by the global crisis lender -- the first time it had taken such an action against any member -- the IMF said Friday that Buenos Aires had taken the required first steps toward remedying the problem.

"The executive board recognized the implementation of all the specified actions it had called for at this juncture," the IMF said, a reference to the sharp revisions in the consumer price index (CPI) and gross domestic product (GDP) data in February and March.

The Fund said Argentina still has to implement other certain actions -- which it did not reveal -- by September 2014 and February 2015 deadlines.

"The Fund welcomes the ongoing discussions with the Argentine authorities to improve the quality of Argentina's official CPI and GDP data and stands ready to continue this dialogue, and, more generally, to further strengthen relations with Argentina," it said.

Argentina had vastly underreported inflation and skewed GDP figures for years, in part for domestic political reasons and also because it had some domestic and foreign debt service payments that were indexed in part to the key figures.

The IMF had repeatedly warned the country of the need to fall in line with standards for members to provide accurate data, and finally took action in February 2013 to officially censure the country.

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