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Argentina's central bank further eases foreign currency restrictions

Argentina'scentral bank, Banco Central de laRepública Argentina, on July 12 further eased foreign currency controlsby issuing a new norm that allows Argentine companies to access the local currencyexchange market in order to pay debts for imported products.

The norm,known as Comunicación "A" 6011, modifies a previous rule that had preventedArgentine companies from accessing the local currency market to pay for importsin foreign currencies.

"Debtorsin the financial sector and non-financial private sector will have access to thelocal currency exchange market to service debts abroad under any term, either fullyor partially," the central bank said.

Companiescan also access the local currency exchange market to prepay debts with internationalorganizations, official credit agencies and foreign banks, the central bank said.

Separately,the central bank decided July 12 to leave its 35-day benchmark interest rate unchangedat 30.25%, citing its continuing efforts to support a gradual process of disinflation.

Althoughno official inflation data was published in the previous week, preliminary estimatesshow lower inflation in June compared to May and analysts expect that the processof disinflation will continue in the coming months, the bank noted.

A weekearlier, on July 5, the central bank cutits benchmark interest rate, also known as the 35-day Lebac rate, by 50 basis points.