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U.S. Grants Argentina $380-Million Loan

February 16, 1988|From Reuters

BUENOS AIRES — The United States granted Argentina a $380-million bridge loan to help it make interest payments on its $54-billion foreign debt, Central Bank President Jose Luis Machinea said Monday.

Argentina must pay $490 million in interest on its debt pending from 1987 by the end of March. But private banking sources in Buenos Aires say the country's reserves stand below $400 million.

Economy Minister Juan Sourrouille said Sunday that Argentina would receive a $550-million standby loan from the International Monetary Fund and other international agencies.

Machinea told Reuters that two-thirds of that sum was being loaned by the United States.

"It's a direct loan from the U.S. government based on $400 million the International Monetary Fund is going to disburse as part of a standby loan," Machinea said.

Argentina is close to striking a debt accord with the Washington-based IMF, Machinea said. But he did not say when the IMF would disburse pending installments of another $1.4-billion standby loan agreed to in January, 1987.

Machinea said the $380-million bridge loan, due this week, breaks down into about $230 million equal to a pending installment of the standby loan and $150 million to compensate for falling export revenue.

The rest of the money making up the $550 million represents a $175-million credit line from the World Bank to boost Argentina's agricultural sector, Sourrouille said. That segment also will be disbursed this week.

Both Argentine officials were in Washington last week to try to get the IMF to disburse installments from the standby loan.

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