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UPDATE 4-Argentina says no deal yet with debt holdouts
* No deal yet with holdouts - Boudou
* Hopes for Paris Club resolution this year - Boudou
* Argentine bonds rising on hopes a deal is imminent
By Fiona Ortiz and Guido Nejamkis
BUENOS AIRES, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Argentina is considering proposals from "holdouts" but has not clinched a deal to reopen its 2005 debt restructuring, the country's economy minister said on Monday.
Argentina's sovereign bonds rallied to one-year highs on Monday on growing speculation of an imminent agreement on the defaulted debt, which would help pave the way for Argentina to return to international credit markets with a new bond.
Economy Minister Amado Boudou denied a report of a completed deal and said talks were ongoing with the so-called holdouts -- holders of defaulted Argentine government bonds who did not accept the 2005 restructuring.
Argentina remains largely excluded from credit markets some seven years after it defaulted on an estimated $100 billion in debt during a devastating economic crisis. It later offered very low returns in a restructuring plan that was rejected by nearly a quarter of bondholders.
The country, which faces $13 billion in debt obligations next year, is taking steps to resolve issues with holders of its defaulted debt to remove the threat of lawsuits that would hang over the issuance of a new global bond.
"We have ongoing conversations with different groups, dealing with important banks as well as funds, which are the principle holders of these bonds," Boudou told foreign correspondents in Buenos Aires, regarding the holdouts. "We still have not arrived at any definitive strategy."
Dow Jones Newswires reported on Sunday a group of investors representing about $8 billion in defaulted bond obligations had agreed with Argentina to a reopened restructuring.
The report said it would be similar to the one in 2005, but involving a new bond, due in 2016, with a 13.5 percent coupon instead of a cash deal.
Boudou said that proposal, in which Barclays Capital represents the bondholders, was only one of several the government is looking at, adding it was too early to talk about interest rates.
BONDS RISE ON DEAL EXPECTATIONS
Expectations of a holdouts deal drove up prices for Argentine sovereign bonds traded over-the-counter in Buenos Aires. Bonds on the local market rose more than 2 percent on average, led by 536870913 544499813 as much as 4.5 percent to an ask price of 28.90.
Traders said bonds were moving on talk President Cristina Fernandez would announce a deal with holdouts on Monday in a presentation at Columbia University in New York City, or later in the week during the G20 summit.
The president is in New York to attend to the United Nations General Assembly. She will head to the G20 summit in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday.
In September last year Fernandez announced a pending deal with holdouts in a speech in New York, but the financial crisis forced Argentina to put that agreement on ice.
"Bonds are up expecting signals over the holdouts and Paris Club," said Marcelo Trovato, analyst with Caja Social de Inversiones brokerage in Buenos Aires.
To return to international debt markets, Argentina is also trying to reach a deal with the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations on the terms for repayment of some $6.7 billion.
Boudou said the Paris Club issue could be resolved this year.
The minister is scheduled to meet with his French counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Boudou said he would travel to Paris after the annual International Monetary Fund meeting in October.
Argentina will easily meet its debt obligations next year, the minister said, adding it can easily swap longer-term bonds for short-term paper held by state entities such as Banco de la Nacion and the ANSES state pension fund.
But a new global bond would make things all the better, he added.
Boudou said that it was important for Argentina not to treat all holders of defaulted bonds the same way because there is a distinction between entities that held the bonds and chose not to enter the 2005 restructuring, and so-called vulture funds that bought the debt dirt cheap later on.
But when asked how Argentina would differentiate without generating legal challenges, he said the idea is to create a financial product to swap for defaulted bonds that would cause the bond holders to distinguish between themselves. (Additional reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Vivianne Rodrigues; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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