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ARGENTINA | 27-02-2020 07:00

Guzmán heads home after meeting bondholders in United States

Economy minister flies back to Buenos Aires after meeting with Argentina's creditors and officials from IMF in United States, as debt restructuring talks continue.

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán has flown back to Buenos Aires after holding a series of meetings with creditors, institutions and representatives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the United States.

 

President Alberto Fernández is hoping to renegotiate around US$195 billion of its US$311 billion foreign debt, according to reports, including a deeply unpopular US$57 billion IMF bailout loan in 2018.

The Peronist leader, who took office in December, has refused the final US$13 billion disbursement of the loan, leaving exposure with the Fund at US$44 billion.

Guzmán has been the government's point man for the restructuring plans and on Wednesday, he met with creditors for talks on Argentina's preferred timetable for debt payments, with talks addressing an initial postponement of around US$100 billions, Noticias Argentinas said this week. For now the government is preferring not to show its hand on this issue, reports in Argentina said this week.

That meeting came one day after additional meeting in New York with bankers and creditors. The economy minister stressed in comments to the press that the “strategic reunions” represent a “critical moment [for Argentina], because it’s prior to a offer of swap.”

Last Friday, in the first stop of this brief foreign tour, Guzmán met with a host of officials in Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh, where he participated in the G20 Summit of finance ministers and central bank chiefs. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were among those who held discussions with the minister.

The meetings come amid reports in the local press that Argentina will seek a haircut on debt of at least 30 percent. The Alberto Fernández administration has yet to engage an advisory entity – formed by financiers, lawyers and lobbyists – to evaluate, on the basis of the country’s capacity to pay, what type of offer would be acceptable to creditors, who are forming groups for talks.

After this entity researches the offer, a formal process will begin, which would normally be overseen by a large bank, which has more direct contact with bondholders. Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and JPMorgan, among others, have all been linked with such roles.  

Argentina's largest creditors are the BlackRock, Templeton, Pimco, Gramercy, Greylock and Fidelity, amid other investment funds.

Hans Hume, the president of Greylock Capital, said this week that “private creditors are disposed to make concessions.”

However, he added that they would have welcomed "analytical data that could be the basis for seeing what gaps exist and how creditors can help close those gaps.”

- TIMES/NA/Télam

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