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With the Peronists waiting in the wings, Argentina is struggling to avoid a ninth sovereign default. “Macri caught the ear of Trump,” says Hector Torres, a former senior IMF official now at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a Canadian think-tank. “He got Trump to believe he needed a hand and he started [lobbying] via the [US] Treasury before going to the IMF.”

The fund’s initial bailout for Argentina, announced in June 2018, pledged $50bn, much more than expected. Ms Lagarde said the money would “bolster market confidence”. But only two months later, markets had lost confidence in the...

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