Argentina's messy bankbooks

Is Argentina $37 billion or $43 billion in debt? Last week Argentine leaders were asking that billion-dollar question. Only three weeks after an international rescue squad of public and private lenders had saved Argentina from missing the deadline for a $500 million interest payment, that country's finances appeared to be a more confusing mess than ever.

Buenos Aires conceded last week that it does not even know exactly how much the country owes. Official estimates over the past year have ranged from a low of $37 billion to a high of $43 billion. In an effort to determine the true...

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