BUENOS AIRES, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Argentina's central bank said on Tuesday it had hiked interest rates on its short- and medium-term fixed deposits in pesos by 8 percentage points, as the market braced for a likely sharp devaluation of the currency later this week.
The issuance of fixed deposits was the first by the central bank under its new chief Federico Sturzenegger.
On Monday, Argentina's new President Mauricio Macri had said he would start this week lifting the restrictions to access to U.S. dollars that were imposed by the previous government. He has not specified the speed at which he will lift the restrictions, known collectively as the "cepo".
Freeing up capital controls will likely weaken the official peso exchange rate. Local market sources said they expect the rate to weaken to around 13.5 to 15 to the greenback, versus the current rate of 9.8 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Diane Craft)