BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- The peso held its own against the dollar, but Argentines flooded exchange houses nonetheless on Monday after the government freely floated the local currency for the first time in 11 years.
Argentines, eager to unload their devalued pesos, waited in lines that stretched for blocks as the peso dropped as low as 2.5 to the dollar in early trading. The currency later rebounded, trading around the 2 peso-per-dollar mark at which it had been for much of last week.
"For financial security, I only trust the dollar," said Ramon Ojeda, lining up with about 70 people outside the Paris Exchange House. "The last thing I want is to be stuck holding a fistful of worthless pesos."
President Eduardo Duhalde, hoping to win badly needed aid from the International Monetary Fund, last month abandoned the peso's decade-long one-to-one peg to the U.S. dollar, replacing it with a dual exchange rate.
But he quickly disbanded the official exchange rate of 1.4 pesos per dollar for some transactions, and his government is reportedly preparing to seek $25 billion in IMF emergency bailout funds to help revive the economy.
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