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BUENOS AIRES: Argentina's central bank has tightened rules on companies accessing dollars in alternative foreign exchange markets, part of a bid to limit parallel trades that have become increasingly popular due to tough capital controls.

The bank, in a measure announced late on Saturday, said it would toughen restrictions on dollar access by grouping related companies under a single cap when buying foreign currency through channels such as the Blue Chip Swap. Many companies and individuals in the South American nation access dollars via legal, though unofficial, roundabout routes that often involve processes of buying and then selling financial assets in Argentina and abroad.

Argentina imposed tough capital controls in 2019, which have been hardened in a bid to stem an outflow of dollars from the country that is locked in talks to revamp some $45 billion it owes to the International Monetary Fund. The central bank has been trying to rebuild depleted foreign currency reserves and has purchased some $6.7 billion so far in 2021, according to official data until July 5.

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