Argentina to pay off IMF debts at start of 2006

Argentine President Nestor Kirchner said on Wednesday 21 December that his country will clear its debt with the International Monetary Fund on 2 January next year, instead of the previously announced next Thursday.

"On Jan. 2, we will pay our IMF debt once and for all," Kirchner told a public meeting, without giving any reason for the delay of the 9.81-billion-US dollar final payment.

Some officials were quoted in the press as saying that Argentina made the decision because its central bank int