Africa

Ratings agency S&P has slashed Zambia’s credit rating to “selective default” after the government missed an interest payment last week and announced it would suspend debt service to external commercial creditors, Reuters reported. Zambia - one of the world’s top copper producers - was struggling with its ballooning debt before the coronavirus pandemic roiled global markets and looks headed for a messy and protracted default.

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Mozambique's Attorney General's Office said on Wednesday it will seek the extradition of three former Credit Suisse bankers implicated in a $2 billion debt scandal that sent the country's economy into crisis, Reuters reported. Andrew Pearse, Detelina Subeva and Surjan Singh, who helped arrange the loans to Mozambique, all pleaded guilty in the United States last year to charges including conspiracy to violate U.S. anti-bribery laws and to commit money laundering and securities fraud in relation to their role in the affair.

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Zambia’s government said on Tuesday it had adjourned meetings with creditors on a proposal to defer payments on its Eurobonds to Nov. 13 due to a lack of quorum, pushing the copper producer further towards a protracted debt overhaul, Reuters reported. The meetings had been scheduled for Tuesday morning and were expected to gauge support for a delay in interest payments on $3 billion-worth of three outstanding dollar-denominated bonds until April. Two-thirds of holders of Zambia 2022 and 2024 bonds and three-quarters of its 2027 issue were required to vote.

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Zambia looks set to move closer to being Africa’s first sovereign default since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with bondholders expected to reject a request to put off payments for six months, Bloomberg News reported. A key vote Tuesday by holders of Zambia’s $3 billion of Eurobonds will also be keenly watched by other poor nations considering how to involve commercial creditors in debt-relief talks.

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The clock is ticking for Zambia to convince reluctant bondholders to accept an interest-payment holiday while it works out a debt-restructuring strategy, Bloomberg News reported. If investors refuse Zambia’s request for a six-month standstill in a key vote on Tuesday, it may become the first African nation to default since the onset of the coronavirus. That could set a precedent for how cash-strapped governments treat private and Chinese creditors. The southern African nation isn’t making it any easier for bondholders to give it breathing space.

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Some of the world’s top economies could see their credit ratings cut or put on downgrade warnings in the coming months in a second global wave of coronavirus-related revisions, S&P Global’s top sovereign analyst has warned, Reuters reported. S&P’s sovereign group managing director Roberto Sifon-Arevalo told Reuters that the immense costs of supporting health systems, firms and workers through the pandemic was fundamentally altering some countries’ finances for the worse.

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The head of the International Monetary Fund on Sunday called for significant steps to address the increasingly unsustainable debt burdens of some countries, urging creditors and debtors to start restructuring processes sooner rather than later, Reuters reported. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said a six-month extension of the Group of 20 major economies’ freeze in official bilateral payments would help low-income countries hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but more urgent action was needed.

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Zambia skipped an interest payment on its debt, moving closer to becoming the first African nation to default on dollar bonds since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Holders of Zambia’s $3 billion of Eurobonds will vote next week on the country’s request for a six-month interest-payment holiday. A core group of creditors have already rejected the proposal, prompting Zambia to say it won’t be able to service its commercial debts including the bonds unless it gets the relief.

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Rich nations, development banks and private creditors need to ramp up support for poorer countries to prevent humanitarian crises and a “lost decade” of global growth, the prominent G30 group of former policymakers and academics said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. How to support struggling countries is the most pressing issue being discussed during the virtual annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank this week amid warnings 150 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by the end of next year. The G30, which includes former U.S.

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Zambia has warned it is ready to become the first African country to default as a result of the coronavirus pandemic if investors in its $3bn worth of US dollar bonds reject a request by the southern African nation to suspend payments, the Financial Times reported. Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, which is attempting to restructure its $12bn of external debt, has become a crucial test of global efforts to help emerging nations find debt relief as the pandemic devastates their economies.

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