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Argentine Benchmark Deposit Rate Falls to One-Month Low

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s benchmark deposit rate plunged yesterday to the lowest level in a month, according to data compiled by the central bank.

The average rate on 30-day deposits of at least 1 million pesos ($220,000), known as the badlar rate, fell to 11.4 percent yesterday from 13.2 percent on July 13, the central bank said. That’s the lowest level on the rate, which serves as a benchmark for loans, since June 15, when it was 10.8 percent.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been putting pressure on banks to cut interest rates in a bid to shore up faltering growth in South America’s second-biggest economy.

The badlar fell yesterday the most since Nov. 18, when the government asked banks to cut rates on loans. Interior Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno asked banks to limit increases in the badlar rate and said that it shouldn’t exceed 13 percent, newspaper La Nacion reported today, citing people it didn’t name. Moreno’s press office didn’t return phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

On July 5, the central bank said that the country’s biggest banks will be forced to lend companies at least 15 billion pesos at interest rates that are less than inflation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires at eraszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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