Argentine central bank reserves slip to six-year low

BUENOS AIRES, April 18 Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:33am EDT

BUENOS AIRES, April 18 (Reuters) - Argentine central bank reserves have fallen beneath $40 billion for the first time since May 2007 after recently paying various debt obligations, the bank said late on Wednesday.

The banks international reserves stood at $39.81 billion as of Wednesday, the bank said in a statement.

Argentina staged the world's biggest sovereign default during a 2001-02 economic crisis and it has not returned to global credit markets since, largely because of lawsuits abroad.

Starting in 2010, the government began using central bank foreign reserves to repay multilateral lenders and private creditors.

Private economists say capital flight is also playing a role in the reduction of central bank reserves. The government has taken steps to keep dollars in the South American country as savers get nervous about the depreciating local peso.

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