Argentina issues 182-day 'Lete' debt at 44.76% after interest rate cut

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Argentina issued 18.85 billion pesos ($315 million) in 182-day ‘Lete’ Treasury debt at an interest rate of 44.76%, the economy ministry said in a statement on Friday, a day after the central bank cut its benchmark rate.

On Thursday the bank cut its reference rate to 58% from 63%, in line with the policy of the new government to activate the moribund economy by cutting borrowing costs.

Also on Friday, the government said it would postpone payments on some short-term “Letes”. About $9 billion in such payments due to expire from Friday would be affected, according to a government source.

Fitch reacted by downgrading Argentina to a “Restricted Default” rating applied to borrowers that have defaulted on one or more of its commitments while to continuing to meet others. (Reporting by Hernan Nessi; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Sandra Maler)