Argentina to receive $1 bln loan from Goldman Sachs - newspaper

BUENOS AIRES, March 30 Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:06pm EDT

BUENOS AIRES, March 30 (Reuters) - Argentina is closing in on a deal to receive around $1 billion in loans from investment bank Goldman Sachs and is in talks with other international banks about similar deals, local newspaper Pagina/12 reported on Sunday.

The paper, which has close ties with the government of President Cristina Fernandez, said the two-year loan would be announced in the next few days and carry an annual interest rate of 6.5 percent.

It would be the first time in more than a decade the country has received a substantial loan from international creditors and comes as the government seeks cash to avoid a further devaluation of the peso.

The Economy Ministry did not provide immediate comment on the report.

The government wants the new funds to boost its depleted foreign exchange reserves, the paper said, citing an unnamed government source. The reserves will see a further improvement in April with the export of the country's grain harvest.

Dollars have been scarce in Argentina due to capital flight, weak exports, and low competitiveness because of high inflation. The country has also been shut out of international capital markets since a massive 2002 default.

The government also hoped securing the Goldman Sachs loan would demonstrate that its strategy of thawing relations with international creditors was starting to take effect, said the paper.

Argentina has offered to repay a debt of around $9.5 billion to the Paris Club of creditor nations stemming from the 2002 default.

The club had accepted Argentina's initial proposal to pay back the funds without recourse to the International Monetary Fund and to request credit lines from the countries it owed money to, Pagina/12 said in a separate report on Sunday.

Talks were continuing over the repayment terms, it added. (Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi; Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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