(Adds finance minister, market analyst)
By Jorge Otaola and Nicolás Misculin
BUENOS AIRES Dec 11 Argentina’s new government is negotiating with a group of Wall Street banks for a credit line worth up to $ 7 billion to bolster its low foreign reserves and assist it lift capital controls, a banking source stated on Friday.
Center-right President Mauricio Macri, who took office on Thursday, desires to move speedily to get rid of currency controls that restrict access to U.S. dollars but is stymied by the central bank’s precariously low tough currency reserves.
The industrial banking source stated Argentina was in talks with HSBC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs , Deutsche Bank and Citigroup Inc.
But he stated there remained obstacles to an agreement and that no quick deal was probably.
“The banks are functioning on a deal. It would be difficult for anything to come about immediately. There are some crucial specifics needed to close this out that are missing,” said the supply, without having providing much more details.
Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay declined to confirm Macri’s government was in talks with the banks.
“We’re negotiating different financing options so that the dollars that ought to never ever have left the nation come back as speedily as feasible,” Prat-Gay told reporters soon after unveiling his team.
The U.S. dollar crunch stems from a festering legal battle with U.S. investment firms more than unpaid debt that tipped Argentina back into default in July final year and prolonged the country’s banishment from international debt markets.
A second supply in the central bank confirmed the talks were taking spot but could not confirm the amount being discussed.
“They’re operating to reduce Argentina’s credit danger offered the fact that it is in default and keeping in mind the new government is working to resolve that predicament,” the commercial bank supply stated.
Citi declined to comment.
Argentina’s daily La Nacion reported that beyond the feasible $ 7 billion being sought through the group of 5 banks, a additional $ 1 billion could be secured by way of a financing agreement with Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA Bancomer.
Argentina’s central bank counts its total reserves at $ 25 billion, but some private economists estimate net reserves are a fraction of that.
“I expect the new government to be able to get liquidity help from the markets” mentioned Sebastian Vargas, emerging markets analyst at Barclays bank in New York. “It would be a liquidity bridge for the central bank, not financing for the Treasury.” (Further reporting by Hugh Bronstein Writing by Richard Lough Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Meredith Mazzilli)