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Argentine bondholders say country in credit 'wasteland' amid economic crises

NEW YORK/BUENOS AIRES, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Argentine bondholder groups slammed the government on Thursday over economic policies they said were undermining investor confidence in the country, which emerged from a sovereign default in September after a $65 billion restructuring.

Two of the groups involved in that debt revamp said in a statement that policies since then had “failed to restore confidence” and instead had “dramatically worsened the country’s economic crisis.” Bond prices have dropped sharply since the exchange.

Argentina, headed for a near 12% economic drop this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is battling a foreign exchange crisis with dwindling reserves and a huge gap between the official peso spot rate and alternative trades of the currency.

The economy ministry and central bank have tightened capital controls this year, though in recent weeks have looked for ways to ease the crisis and improve liquidity in the market - but have yet to succeed in calming the situation.

The gap between the official spot rate of around 78 pesos per dollar and the black market was around 143% on Thursday, with dollars trading for around 190 pesos in the unapproved informal market.

“Instead of heralding a reopening of access to markets to support Argentina’s manifest investment needs, the aftermath of the debt restructuring is a virtual wasteland for Argentine credit,” the Exchange Bondholder Group and Argentina Creditor Committee said.

The Argentine government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Argentina’s center-left Peronist government, in place since last December, has this year restructured over $100 billion with private creditors and is in negotiations to defer some $45 billion in payments to the International Monetary Fund.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos and Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Jonathan Oatis

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