April 22, 2008 / 4:41 PM / 12 years ago

Argentine bonds, peso slip on farm conflict fears

BUENOS AIRES, April 22 (Reuters) - Argentine bonds were down by 2 percent on average in midday trade on Tuesday due to uncertainty over negotiations between the government and farmers who recently staged a three-week strike.

Argentine stocks .MERV were also trading lower, down 1.47 percent at 2,169.18 points at 1:33 p.m. (1633 GMT), led lower by banking shares. Argentine banks are among the biggest holders of sovereign debt, and bond losses affect their earnings.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso was also weaker as private investors bought exceptionally large quantities of dollars amid the tense farm talks, which began on April 2 after the farmers suspended their strike for 30 days.

“There are things going on that are going against the market,” one currency trader said, referring to the agricultural conflict.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= weakened by 0.24 percent to 3.220/3.225 per dollar.

The peso was down 0.16 percent to 3.1825/3.185 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade, where the central bank regularly intervenes.

Among the biggest losers on the debt market <AR/BONOS> was the dollar-denominated Discount paper ARDISCD=RASL, which was down 3.1 percent in over-the-counter trade.

Argentine bonds’ risk spread over U.S. Treasuries rose 26 basic points to 586 basic points, the benchmark JP Morgan EMBI+ index 11EMJ showed in midday trade. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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