(Adds central bank data, background)
By Maximiliano Rizzi
BUENOS AIRES, April 23 (Reuters) - The proceeds from Argentina’s bond auction earlier this week have been deposited in its central bank reserves, President Cristina Fernandez said on Thursday, putting them out of reach of creditors suing the South American country.
Argentina sold $1.4 billion worth of dollar-denominated paper on Tuesday, drawing bids for more than three times the amount on offer despite legal risks stemming from its long battle with hedge funds over debt it defaulted on in 2002.
The following day, the U.S. judge at the heart of that fight said those creditors were entitled to details of the offering to determine if any assets existed in the United States that could satisfy billions of dollars in unpaid judgments.
Fernandez, who calls the creditors suing Argentina “vultures,” told reporters during a trip to Russia that the proceeds from the bond sale had been “recently added to the Argentine reserves.”
The reserves closed at $32.675 billion, the highest level since November 2013 and up from $31.428 billion on Wednesday.
Argentina has sought to regain access to international credit markets over the past year as its foreign reserves tumbled to new lows and the economy teetered on the brink of recession after nearly a decade of solid growth.
But the funds suing the country have hampered its ability to raise money on international credit markets until Argentina resolves its dispute with them. They have sued for full repayment of defaulted debt they bought for pennies on the dollar.
Tuesday’s debt auction suggests the cash-strapped country can nonetheless issue paper under local laws to finance itself, albeit at high yields. The Bonar24 carries a 8.75 percent coupon.
The solid demand at the auction indicates investors are keen to gain exposure to Latin America’s third largest economy ahead of elections in October that many expect to usher in a more market-friendly government that will settle the dispute.
Hot on the heels of the sovereign’s debt auction, state energy company YPF on Thursday sold $1.5 billion of new 10-year bonds at 8.5 percent, raising its planned issuance from $500 million on the back of strong interest. (Writing by Sarah Marsh; Additional reporting by Daniel Bases in New York; Editing by W Simon and Leslie Adler)