Argentina issues more debt to shore up peso

Argentina issues more debt to shore up peso

Argentina's government issued more debt on Wednesday through 160-day Treasury bills in a bid to shore up a weak peso.

The government offered the Treasury bills (here called Lecap) in local currency at four-percent interest, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

This latest series of Lecap, which come due in February 2019, join an earlier series issued on Sept. 17 in either pesos or U.S. dollars at 4 percent and 3.45 percent interest. Those also come due in 2019.

The debt issue aims to take in some 232 billion pesos (about 5.8 billion U.S. dollars) introduced into the market on Tuesday.

According to the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA), over the next two days, the plan is to continue to take in local capital by issuing another 150 billion pesos (3.75 billion U.S. dollars) in Treasury bills and 100 billion pesos (2.5 billion U.S. dollars) in another instrument.

The measures aim to increase demand for pesos, and prevent the monetary injection from impacting the price of goods and services, or leading to a higher demand for dollars.

Following weeks of fluctuations, the currency exchange market has stabilized in recent days, thanks to strong intervention by the central bank through its reserves, the ministry said.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 40 pesos on Wednesday, according to the state-run Banco Nacion, from a rate of 18 pesos to the dollar at the start of the year.

Argentina has earlier called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to speed up its disbursements of a 50 billion U.S. dollars loan granted the country.

The country wants payments scheduled for 2020 and 2021 to be moved up to 2019.

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