September 18, 2018 / 10:14 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 2-Argentine central bank says sells $261 mln in forex market

(Adds sale of short-term Lebac notes)

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Argentina’s central bank sold $261 million in reserves on Tuesday, the monetary authority said in a statement announcing its latest intervention in the foreign exchange market aimed at easing the fall of the local currency.

The peso fell 0.58 percent on Tuesday to 39.80 per dollar.

The central bank has spent more than $15.6 billion this year in interventions aimed at bolstering the currency, according to official data.

The peso has nonetheless lost more than 53 percent of its value against the greenback as investors grew concerned about Argentina’s ability to pay its debts and as higher U.S. interest rates siphoned investment off from emerging markets worldwide.

Also on Tuesday, the central bank sold 150 billion pesos ($3.77 billion) in short-term Lebac securities at 45 percent. The bank is reducing the amount of Lebac securities in circulation as part of Argentina’s standby financing deal with the International Monetary Fund.

The total amount of Lebac debt that expired this month was 381.9 billion pesos. The bank lifted reserve requirements this month as part of its effort to absorb the liquidity created by the payout of Lebac maturations.

Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney

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