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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 22:13 GMT
Argentina lifts final cash curbs
Argentine pesos
Argentina has said it will lift the remaining restrictions on citizens withdrawing cash from banks.

The move will unfreeze 14 billion pesos ($4.8bn, 3.1bn), further easing the country's financial crisis.

The Argentine government has gradually relaxed cash curbs introduced in late 2001 that froze half of all bank deposits.

The restrictions, known as the "corralito" or "little fence", sparked violent street protests that helped bring down President Fernando de la Rua.

Avoiding collapse

They were swiftly followed by Argentina defaulting on its debts and devaluing the currency, the peso.

Many bank depositors realised what was coming and wanted to get their money out to convert it into dollars - a currency that would retain its value.

The ban on withdrawals was designed to prevent too many people withdrawing their money and precipitating the collapse of the financial system.

At the end of last year, depositors were permitted to take cash from savings and current accounts without limit.

'Definitive decision'

But restraints remained on withdrawals from some other deposits, such as those that require advance notice.

Speaking on Thursday, Argentina's economy minister Roberto Lavagna said the government was "taking the final and definitive decision" to lift the curbs.

The decision still needs certain technical and legal approval, he added without giving details, as well as the signature of caretaker President Eduardo Duhalde.

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