June 19, 2018 / 1:54 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 4-Argentine bonds rebound after touching lowest level of Macri's term

(Updates last paragraph with new central bank rate hikes on Lebac notes)

By Jorge Otaola and Eliana Raszewski

BUENOS AIRES, June 19 (Reuters) - Argentine bonds touched their lowest levels of market-friendly President Mauricio Macri’s term on Tuesday, adding to weeks of losses during a run on the peso currency, but rebounded in a volatile trading session.

Argentina’s country risk - a measure of the difference between its bond yields and those issued by other countries - rose as much as 27 points to a 33-month peak reached during former populist President Cristina Fernandez’s administration when the country was in default.

But bonds later rebounded and the country risk was down 4 points as of 5:42 p.m. (2042 GMT), despite rising yields in other Latin American countries. Gorky Urquieta, managing director at investment management firm Neuberger Berman, said investors began to see the bonds as oversold.

A broad sell-off in emerging market assets has contributed to the run on the peso that prompted Argentina to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a $50 billion financing deal. The IMF board is expected to formally approve the deal on Wednesday.

“It’s all conspiring against Argentina right now, but at the same time we see elements of stability, (and) things potentially beginning to turn around,” Urquieta said.

The peso fell 0.4 percent to close at 27.80 per U.S. dollar on Tuesday, far from the record-low of 28.50 touched last week.

The peso’s relatively small losses followed a day of sharp gains on Monday as new central bank Governor Luis Caputo hiked banks’ reserve requirements and sold $175 million in reserves in a post-market auction to stabilize the currency after losses of nearly 10 percent this month.

The bank did not sell any reserves in a similar auction held on Tuesday. One currency trader, who asked to remain anonymous, said banks were offering to buy reserves at an exchange rate of fewer pesos per dollar than the rate at which the central bank was willing to sell.

Stocks rose on Tuesday, with the Merval stock index closing up more than 5 percent, rebounding slightly after suffering its worst session since late 2014 on Monday.

The central bank hiked its interest rate on Lebac notes to 47 percent from 40 percent on Tuesday, and sold 308 billion pesos ($11 billion) of the securities out of some 514 billion that expired.

$1 = 27.7240 Argentine pesos Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Hernan Nessi; Additional Reporting By Walter Bianchi, Writing by Luc Cohen; editing by Richard Chang and Sandra Maler

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