Cash-strapped Argentina launches voluntary asset swap

<html xmlns=""><head><title>CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Cash-strapped Argentina launches voluntary asset swap</title></head><body>

Corrects to billions (not millions) of dollars in conversion in last paragraph

BUENOS AIRES, June 5 (Reuters) -Argentina's economy ministry said on Monday it had launcheda voluntary asset conversion operation as the South American country battles tumbling foreign reserves that threaten its ability to meet payments.

The ministry last week said it was studying a swap to bring "financial relief" to the country's cash-strapped treasury.

The swap of domestic debt takes into account debts with maturities in June, July, August and September, to be replaced by new contracts with maturities between August 2024 and January 2025, and will be carried out next Thursday, the ministry said.

A major drought this year has helped deplete Argentina's foreign reserves, which the government is trying to rebuild to cover trade costs and make future debt repayments, as well as to meet economic targets under its $44 billion loan program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Analysts consulted by Reuters estimate that the operation will exchange debts worth some 10.2 trillion pesos ($42 billion), of which just under half is held by private investors.

Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Brendan O'Boyle and Gerry Doyle


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