Argentine debt swap 'constitutes default'

ARGENTINA - Fitch, the international ratings agency, said yesterday that Argentina's debt restructuring, launched yesterday, constituted a default.

"On the basis of information currently available, the proposed exchange of debt targeted at local Argentine investors constitutes a distressed exchange and thus a default event," said the third-largest ratings agency.

In ratings parlance, a "distressed exchange" is one carried out for the sole purpose of avoiding missing repayments altogether. Argen