Argentina's consumer sector continues to churn out issues. CMR Falabella closed a Ps13.4 million (US$4.6 million) deal backed by consumer credit on May 7, the first time the issuer tapped Argentina's ABS market. Underscoring the flush liquidity in the market, a Ps10.7 million (US$3.7 million) A tranche priced at 4%, the lowest rate so far for an ABS post-default, but in line with the trend of diminishing yields. Fitch Ratings awarded the A tranche a AA(arg)' on the national scale. Expected maturity is in December 2004. Banks bought 78% of the senior piece, while pension funds took 10%. That tranche has 20% subordination. Banco Sudamerica Patagonia led the deal and Nicholson y Cano provided legal counsel. CMR Falabella focuses on providing credit for purchases at Falabella department stores. The chain hails from Chile and has been operating in Argentina since 1993.

Meanwhile, in Chile the ABS market has been typically quiet for the last couple of months. "This is normal for the first two quarters of the year," said a banker. One deal due out next month is a Ps13.5 billion (US$21 million) credit card transaction from BCI Securitizadora. Chain store Din is the originator.

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