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Argentine Blue-Chip Swap Peso at Smallest Gap Since 2012

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Argentine peso is strengthening in the parallel exchange market as higher interest rates reduce demand for dollars, closing the gap with the official rate to the narrowest since December 2012.

The foreign-exchange rate implied from trading in dollar and peso securities, known as the blue-chip swap, gained 0.6 percent to 9.618 per dollar, reducing the gap with the official rate to 1.62 pesos, from as wide as 4.56 pesos on Feb. 3. The peso in the black market rallied 2.5 percent to 10.34 per dollar, the strongest since January, according to data compiled by Ambito.com.

Argentina’s central bank devalued the official peso 19 percent in January and pledged to keep the currency at 8 per dollar, encouraging soybean exporters to sell their products to add foreign currency to reserves that have tumbled 32 percent in the past year. The monetary authority also boosted benchmark interest rates and drained pesos from the economy as part of efforts by the government to curb the decline in reserves.

“It seems like the central bank’s measures are being effective in bringing down the black-market dollar,” Francisco Diaz, a currency trader at ABC Mercado de Cambios, said in a telephone interview.

The gap between the street peso and the official rate narrowed to 2.32 pesos from 5.19 pesos on Jan. 22. The unofficial currency rate has gained 13 percent since the government eased currency restrictions Jan. 24 by allowing purchases of as much as $2,000 per month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Camila Russo in Buenos Aires at crusso15@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Walsh at bwalsh8@bloomberg.net Bradley Keoun

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