BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – The following is a chronology of key events in Argentina's financial crisis.
Argentina has been rocked for months by fears that a deepening recession, now in its fourth year, could lead the country to devalue its peso currency or default on its $132 billion in public debt.
Dec. 10, 1999 - Fernando de la Rua inaugurated as president after campaigning on promises to revive economy and root out corruption after 10-year rule of Peronist President Carlos Menem. Argentina's country risk premium at 6.10 percentage points above the yield on comparable U.S. Treasuries.
May 29 - Argentina announces $938 million in spending cuts. Two days later, 20,000 protesters march to protest the cuts.
Aug. 24 - Economy Minister Jose Luis Machinea says the 2000 deficit will reach about $5.2 billion, $500 million above target.
Oct. 6 - Carlos Alvarez resigns as vice president in protest at De la Rua's handling of a Senate bribery scandal. Alvarez's left-leaning Frepaso is junior partner to De la Rua's centrist Radicals in the ruling Alliance coalition.
Dec. 18 - The Argentine government announces a $40 billion financial aid package led by the International Monetary Fund. Markets post strong rally.
February - Market jitters after calls to sack Central Bank head Pedro Pou, accused of turning a blind eye to alleged money laundering in Argentine banks as cited in U.S. Senate report.
Early March - Machinea resigns on March 2, Ricardo Lopez Murphy appointed economy minister on March 4. On March 16, Lopez Murphy unveils a tough $4.45 billion two-year austerity program with deep cuts in education. Six Frepaso officials resign in protest.
March 19 - Lopez Murphy resigns as economy minister.
March 20 - After calling for a national unity government two days earlier, De la Rua appoints Domingo Cavallo, leader of a small conservative party and a former economy minister in the prior Peronist administration, to replace Lopez Murphy.
March 21 - Cavallo unveils "Competitiveness Plan," including a financial transactions tax and tariffs to shield local firms.
April 17 - Cavallo sends a bill to Congress that would eventually tie the peso to a 50-50 average of the euro and the dollar.
June 3 - Argentina says it swapped $29.477 billion of debt. The swap defers debt service costs of $7.82 billion through 2002 and a total of $16.039 billion through the end of 2005.
June 15 - Argentina announces a new exchange rate system for exports that expands the currency peg to include euro.
July 3 - Argentine stocks fall to 28-month low on rumors of the resignation of President Fernando de la Rua, after a governor in his own party says the president was "overwhelmed" by the political and economic problems rocking the country.
July 10 - Argentina pays highest interest rates in five years in auction of short-term debt. Cavallo says the federal government and the provinces will "immediately" reduce their deficits to zero and stop taking on new debt.
July 11-26 - Three rating agencies slash Argentina's credit ratings and warn of further cuts and risk of default. Country risk rises above 13 percentage points over U.S. Treasuries.
July 30 - Government's key austerity bill passed by opposition-dominated Senate after all-night debate. The "zero deficit" law aims to end deficit spending and slash state salaries and some pensions by up to 13 percent.
Aug. 21 - IMF Managing Director Horst Koehler agrees to recommend an $8 billion increase in Argentina's $14 billion stand-by loan agreement. Depositors begin to return cash to local accounts but mostly in dollars rather than pesos.
Oct. 14 - Opposition Peronists overtake ruling Alliance coalition as first minority in lower house of Congress and retain dominance of Senate in mid-term legislative elections.
Oct. 16-17 - Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service on Oct. 16 warn they could rate Argentina in technical default if bondholders lose money in a planned domestic debt swap. Fitch says on Oct. 17 losses to bondholders in the event of a comprehensive debt restructuring could total $10 billion.
Oct. 30 - De la Rua says participation in a debt restructuring will be "voluntary," not forced. Argentina faces heavy capital and interest payments on its debt in November. Country risk rises to 21.21 percentage points over U.S. Treasuries.
Nov. 1 - De la Rua and Cavallo give details of eagerly awaited economic measures, including a debt swap that would comprise most of the $132 billion public debt as well as boosts to consumer spending. The government said that it save around $4 billion with the swap in 2002.
Nov. 30 - Cavallo says offers to take part in local tranche of debt swap exceed $50 billion, calls it a "resounding success." Analysts had said a swap of at least $40 billion would constitute a success. Country risk hits fresh record highs.
Dec. 1 - Cavallo announces sweeping restrictions to halt an exodus of deposits amid fears a run on banks could bring the economy to the point of collapse. The measures include limits on cash withdrawals and restrictions on the transfer of funds abroad.
Dec. 3 - New banking measures take effect.
Dec. 5 - The IMF announces it will not disburse $1.3 billion in aid to Argentina this month. That decision pushes Argentina closer to the brink of default.