April 15, 2019 / 6:19 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 3-Argentina kicks off $9.6 bln program to finance government spending

(Adds second dollar auction of the day)

BUENOS AIRES, April 15 (Reuters) - Argentina sold $60 million in the foreign exchange market on Monday, traders said, marking the start of peso-buying program approved by the International Monetary Fund and aimed at bolstering government finances.

The central bank held two auctions of $30 million each. The first fetched an average price of 41.55 pesos per greenback. The second came out at an average 41.65 pesos to the dollar.

Under a standby financing deal with the IMF, Argentina’s treasury will sell $60 million per day up to $9.6 billion by way of the central bank to fund government operations.

“The objective of these auctions is to provide pesos needed for government spending denominated in local currency,” the treasury said in a statement.

In 2018 Argentina signed a $56.3 billion IMF finance deal intended to stabilize the peso and help pull the country out of recession. The fund this month ratified its third review of Argentina’s economy under the deal, unlocking a roughly $10.8 billion disbursement of funds. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Eliana Raszewski, writing by Hugh Bronstein Editing by Bill Trott and Lisa Shumaker)

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