Argentina was not invited to the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 that created the IMF, and it did not join until 1956.
But it has been making its presence felt ever since. At the end of August a team from the IMF visited Buenos Aires
to assess the lie of the land before deciding whether to give Argentina's government, led by Mauricio Macri,
any more of the record $57bn loan (worth over 10% of Argentina's 2018 GDP) agreed last year. But as the team left town, the landscape shifted.
Mr Macri's government said it would delay $7bn-worth of repayments on shortterm bills held by institutional investors
and seek a rescheduling of over $50bn of longer-term debt.
It would also request new, extended loans from the IMF to help Argentina repay the money it already owes them.
As the markets digested the news, the ground moved again. On September 1st the government imposed currency controls,
preventing Argentines from buying more than $10,000 a month, forcing exporters to convert their earnings into pesos,
and placing new restrictions on companies' ability to buy foreign exchange.
"This is not a port we imagined we would reach," said Hernan Lacunza, Mr Macri's new finance minister.
The president had, after all, cast off in precisely the opposite direction after coming to power in December 2015,
seeking to remove many of the clumsy impediments to market forces imposed by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Abolishing her currency controls and unifying Argentina's exchange rate was one of his earliest, proudest successes.
Now Argentina once again has a black market for dollars, just as it did under Ms Fernandez.
The reason for this dramatic reversal of policy is an equally dramatic reversal of political fortunes.
On August 11th Argentina held "primary" elections (which are contested by all parties and in which voting is universal and compulsory).
Mr Macri lost decisively to an opposition ticket featuring Alberto Fernandez, a veteran Peronist, as president
and Ms Fernandez as vice-president (the two are unrelated).
The news that their victory in next month's presidential election was now almost certain alarmed Argentina's creditors,
who feared they would fail to honour the country's debts, and corral capital flows.
The peso fell by 25%, the principal stockmarket index collapsed and the cost of insuring against default tripled.
Neither sky-high interest rates nor the central bank's sales of dollar reserves could arrest the currency's fall.
Since the government could not persuade foreigners to hold more pesos, it has been forced to stop Argentines buying too many dollars instead.