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Argentine President-Elect Macri Says Debt Deal Possible in 2016

Argentina's president-elect Mauricio Macri smiles during a news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 23, 2015.

Argentina's President-elect Mauricio Macri on Wednesday expressed confidence a deal could be reached next year with U.S. creditors suing the country over unpaid debt.

Asked if a settlement was possible with so-called "holdout" creditors in 2016, Macri told Reuters: "Yes, of course."

Argentina's decade-long legal battle with a small group of U.S. investment firms tipped the South American country back into default in July last year.

A deal would allow Argentina, a financial markets pariah since its record default on $100 billion in debt in 2002, to regain access to global credit markets and ease an acute shortage of hard currency in Latin America's third biggest economy.

Center-right candidate Macri narrowly won Argentina's presidential runoff election on Nov. 22 promising to dismantle protectionist controls imposed by outgoing President Cristina Fernandez and open up the stagnating economy to investors.

Macri made his comments as he greeted well-wishers after presenting his cabinet in the capital Buenos Aires' botanical gardens. He did not stop to answer what the terms of an eventual agreement might look like.