Argentina’s bondholders need to present a reasonable counteroffer to avoid another debt default by the South American nation, according to Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, Bloomberg News reported. The Columbia University professor, who has mentored Argentina’s Economy Minister Martin Guzman, praised the government of President Alberto Fernandez for coming up with a plan that would put the country’s debt on a sustainable path.
Argentina is said to be preparing to extend the deadline to its debt offer to May 22, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg News reported. The government will publish an extension to its debt offer in the official Gazette on Monday, said the people, who couldn’t be named because the matter is private. The extension is part of President Alberto Fernandez’s next steps in its debt restructuring after extending a deadline over the weekend for creditors to accept an initial offer to exchange $65 billion in overseas bonds.
Avianca Holdings, Latin America’s second-largest airline, filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, after failing to meet a bond payment deadline, while its pleas for coronavirus aid from Colombia’s government have so far been unsuccessful, Reuters reported. If it fails to come out of bankruptcy, Bogota-based Avianca would be one of the first major carriers worldwide to go under as a result of the pandemic, which has crippled world travel. Avianca has not flown a regularly scheduled passenger flight since late March and most of its 20,000 employees have gone without pay through the crisis.
Argentina may consider easing the country’s ultra tight capital controls once it finishes negotiations with bondholders to restructure its debt and coronavirus uncertainty clears, Economy Minister Martin Guzman said, Bloomberg News reported. The government acknowledges the need to relax the controls over its currency markets as a way to promote economic activity, Guzman said in an interview, declining to give any time frame when such a change may take place.
At least two Brazilian airlines and planemaker Embraer SA have hired investment banks to help with talks with state development bank BNDES for government support, sources with knowledge of the matter said, Reuters reported. Embraer has hired Itau BBA, the investment banking unit of Itau Unibanco Holding SA, two sources said. Embraer is seeking credit lines between $1 billion and $1.5 billion after a deal with Boeing Co fell through. Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported earlier on Wednesday that Embraer hired Itau BBA.
Argentina’s government said it’s open to new proposals from it’s creditors to restructure $65 billion in debt, signaling a greater willingness to negotiate in talks to avoid another chaotic default, Bloomberg News reported. “We are willing to consider any combination of reduction of interest, reduction of principal, extension and maturity of grace period that respects the constraints that define what is sustainable,” Economy Minister Martin Guzman told Bloomberg News in an interview, two days before a government’s offer to bondholders expires.
Argentina’s economy minister has sought to raise the stakes with the country’s bondholders by suggesting his government would consider defaulting on $65bn of foreign debt unless investors engaged in negotiations to alleviate its financial burden while tackling the coronavirus pandemic, the Financial Times reported.
Solvency concerns in the developing world are nothing new. But as governments stare down the humanitarian and economic shocks of the coronavirus pandemic, some emerging markets with weak financial positions are at greater risk of defaulting on their debts, Bloomberg News reported. At least 102 nations have already asked the International Monetary Fund for help, and the Institute of International Finance is coordinating an effort to offer some relief to the poorest countries.
Argentina is entering a crucial period this month for a precarious debt-restructuring process that will determine whether or not the country falls into default for a third time in just two decades, Reuters reported. After months of negotiations, the South American country made a proposal in April to restructure $65 billion of its foreign debt. This offer expires on May 8, while a grace period for paying interest on three dollar bonds ends on May 22.
The International Monetary Fund on Saturday confirmed it had approved $643 million in emergency assistance for Ecuador, but said the Andean country would need additional support from other external partners to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus and plummeting oil prices and global demand were having a devastating effect on Ecuador, one of the largest oil exporters in Latin America, said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.