Ecuador plans to pay off a debt it owes to French oil company Perenco at the end of this year and is open to a dialogue to determine how the payment should be made, the country's economy minister said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Ecuador is obliged to pay compensation to Perenco after the World Bank's International Centre for Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled the country had unlawfully ended a production-sharing agreement with Perenco and owed it $391 million including interest.
Across the world, government bondholders have seen losses pile up this year as a pickup in inflation and economic growth puts central banks under pressure to raise interest rates, Bloomberg News reported. That makes even more remarkable the windfalls seen in Ecuador, a junk-rated South American nation that was mired in recession even before the pandemic and was forced to restructure $17.4 billion of debt last year -- a step rating companies considered a default.
Ecuador bonds fell for a second day as Sunday’s presidential election threatened to throw the Latin American nation back into economic turmoil, Bloomberg News reported. With less than 1% of votes left to count, Ecuador is heading for an April runoff between leftist Andres Arauz, with almost a third of the vote, and the indigenous party’s Yaku Perez, with 20.10%. To investors’ surprise, market friendly Guillermo Lasso is third with 19.49%, according to the National Electoral Council’s latest count.
Sovereign default risks are on course to rise further in 2021, with Iraq, Sri Lanka, Angola and Gabon at high probability of default, say Goldman Sachs analysts, Reuters reported. Five sovereign debt defaults or distressed debt exchanges - in which investors swap their debt for new bonds, often with longer maturities and a reduced value - have already happened in 2020 in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, the most in around two decades.