Argentina is "ineligible" for consideration for new loans from the Inter-American Development Bank because it is $42.8 million in arrears in its loan payments to the institution, financial sources said.

The bank provides $3 billion per year in loans for development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Argentina, already aware the bank's executive board of directors would not consider new loans because of the country's outstanding payments, withdrew a $70 million loan application for a drinking water project before a Jan. 16 IDB board meeting.

"We withdrew the application to combine it with another one, but we knew that it would not be considered by the board," an Argentine financial source said Friday.

Another financial source said, "Argentina is ineligible for consideration for new loans {from the IDB}, but that does not mean it will not continue receiving {IDB} disbursements for {individual} borrowers who are up to date with their payments."

By the end of 1987, Argentina was $60 million in arrears in repaying loans for eight development projects, the financial sources said. The country made some payments at the beginning of January but still owes $42.8 million, the sources said.

One source in the international financial community, referring to rumors in Buenos Aires that Argentina would have to stop making payments on its foreign debt because of depleted reserves, said, "It is the beginning of the big moratorium."

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, however, said Argentina is meeting its obligations to those organizations.

Argentina has the third-largest foreign debt in Latin America at about $50 billion, behind Brazil and Mexico.

The Inter-American Development Bank's shareholders are the Latin American and Caribbean countries, the United States, Canada, some western European countries, Israel and Japan.