This week Argentina will make a last-ditch attempt to stall a US court ruling that has shaken the country's strategy to put a 2002 debt crisis behind it and fueled fears of a fresh default.

Ten years since it staged the biggest sovereign default in history, Argentina faces a stark choice.

The decision is between depositing $1.3bn before 15 December to pay "holdout" creditors who rejected two debt restructurings, or jeopardising payments to all its bondholders.

About 93% of bondholders agreed in 2005 and 2010 to swap defaulted debt from the 2002 default for new paper at a steep discount.

But US District Judge Thomas Griesa last week ordered Argentina to pay the holdouts led by Elliott Management Corp's NML Capital Ltd and Aurelius Capital Management, who rejected the swaps and are fighting for full repayment in the courts.

The ruling was a huge setback for Argentina's left-leaning President Cristina Fernandez, who calls the holdout funds "vultures" and has vowed never to pay them.

It also dismayed investors who took part in the two debt swaps and fear the G20 country will now enter into "technical default" on about $24bn in restructured debt.