Argentina central bank to ease financing for drought-hit farm sector

Credit: REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

By Walter Bianchi

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Argentina's central bank will adopt measures to ease financing for the country's key grains sector that has been badly hit by drought, the entity said on Thursday, which will include more flexible terms on non-payment and subsidized credit lines.

The measures will ease rules until Dec. 31 on defaults by farmers who are grappling with the worst drought in some sixty years that has cut the wheat harvest in half, and delayed soy and corn planting, hurting yields of the key cash crops.

"Today (we) adopted measures to favor financing of the productive sector hit by the drought, including more flexible terms for the determination of default and the possibility of accessing subsidized credit lines," the central bank said.

Argentina is the world's top exporter of processed soy meal and oil and the no. 3 for corn. It is also an important producer of wheat and beef, but farmers have been hurt badly by a lack of rain since last year, which is only starting to improve now.

The move comes after the government said late in January it would launch measures to help farmers, including a relief fund to tackle considerable losses to the country's grains harvests.

(Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Adam Jourdan)

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