BUENOS AIRES - The Argentine peso rose 4.43 percent on Thursday, and investors cited optimism that the recession-hit country will strike a new standby financing agreement with the International Monetary Fund aimed at guaranteeing government solvency.

The local currency was at 37.7 to the dollar, having lost about half its value this year as investors grew worried about Argentina’s ability to meet its debt obligations next year.

The government is in talks with the IMF to strengthen the $50 billion standby deal it signed with the multilateral lender in June. An IMF spokesman said on Thursday that “important progress” was being made in the talks.

The local Merval stock index .MERV rose 3.4 percent.

Reuters

Reporting by Jorge Otaola, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by David Gregorio

RTS220UI People walk near the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 19, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci