The IMF has taken years to pluck up the courage to censure Argentina’s blatantly inaccurate inflation statistics, but it did so at last on February 1st. The official reprimand gives the government of President Cristina Fernández until September 29th to take “remedial measures” to comply with the fund’s rules on the reporting of statistics. It it fails to do so, Argentina risks escalating punishments, from losing its ability to borrow from the IMF to—eventually—expulsion.
This is the first time the fund has reprimanded a country in this way since its rules on members’ statistics were tightened in 2004. It has only ever expelled one country—Czechoslovakia in 1954, ostensibly for failing to provide adequate statistics, though the cold war probably had more to do with it.