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Argentina Pays Back Debt to IMF

Argentina has paid off its entire debt to the International Monetary Fund.

Argentine news agencies report the Central Bank Tuesday transferred $9.5 billion from its international reserves to the IMF.

Argentine President Nestor Kirchner had announced on December 15 that his government would pay off its debt to the IMF. He said the move would save the South American nation $800 million in interest payments and give it more freedom to carry out its economic policies.

Argentina defaulted on more than $100 billion in debt in early 2002 following a political and economic crisis. It still owes tens of billions of dollars to private lenders.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and Bloomberg.