May 15, 2017 / 7:05 PM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Argentina OKs issue of $20 bln in debt for repo transactions

(Adds details of Argentina’s credit history)

BUENOS AIRES, May 15 (Reuters) - Argentina has authorized issuance of up to $20 billion in debt instruments to be used in repo operations under U.S. and British law, the government said on Monday.

The transactions, to take place under opportune market conditions, are part of the government’s 2017 financial program, according to a decree published in the official gazette.

A repo, or repurchase agreement, is a form of short-term borrowing for dealers in government securities.

To get the best terms, the government plans to extend the legal jurisdiction of the operations to courts in New York and London, it said. Debt instruments governed by U.S. and British law are often considered more valuable and fetch higher prices than obligations subject to Argentine courts.

The country has repeatedly defaulted on its sovereign bonds. It battled for years with creditors before reaching a settlement in 2016 that allowed it to re-enter the global credit markets.

President Mauricio Macri was elected in late 2015 on the promise of “normalizing” Argentina’s economy and financial markets after years of heavy state intervention and non-payment of international debt obligations under the previous government. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Sandra Maler)

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