UPDATE 1-Argentina says sold $1 bln in bonds to help importers settle debts
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BUENOS AIRES Dec 28 (Reuters) - Argentina said on Monday that it sold $1 billion of dollar-denominated Bonar 2016 bonds to help importers settle their backlog of payments that had ballooned under the previous government's capital controls.
The new, center right government of President Mauricio Macri said last week that it would issue up to $5 billion in Bonar 2016 bonds. It is unclear whether the government plans to sell more bonds later.
The economy ministry said importers could buy the bonds, which have a 6 percent coupon, with pesos and sell them to receive dollars they need to pay off their debt.
Importers' outstanding debt grew after former President Cristina Fernandez' restricted their access to dollars in 2011 as part of a bid to prop up the country's dwindling reserves.
Macri's government has lifted restrictions on dollar purchases and said it would issue bonds to finance debt importers owed for past shipments.
(Reporting By Jorge Otaola; Editing by Diane Craft)
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