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ECONOMY | 03-05-2020 16:32

Argentina will work with debt holders if offer is rejected, says Guzmán

Economy minister says government is willing to keep working toward a deal to restructure its debt if an offer that expires on Friday is rejected.

Argentina is willing to keep working toward a deal to restructure its debt if an offer that expires on Friday is rejected, says Economy Minister Martín Guzmán.

Guzmán told local daily Clarín in an interview published on Sunday that he is seeing a “growing understanding” with bondholders ahead of a May 8 deadline for the offer that creditor groups already criticised.

“We believe that the process in these days has been positive, yet it is still lacking and the dialog will continue,” the minister said. “If there is no settlement on the 8th, Argentina will continue working as long as necessary to restore the sustainability of the debt.”

Argentina made a formal offer on April 17 to creditors to restructure US$65 billion of its debt, but analysts expect major bondholders to reject the deal. If no deal is reached by May 22, when a 30-day grace period for coupon payments on some dollar bonds expires, the country would fall into default.

Guzmán said that the country had informed the Paris Club that it did not have “the capacity” to pay and would seek to renegotiate its debt with the club of creditors. Last month, President Alberto Fernández said France was backing a request to delay by a year a US$2.1 billion payment due in May to the Paris Club.

The minister also said in the interview that inflation in April will continue to slow and that the government’s stimulus was not causing “a strong impact” on consumer prices.

In an article published in the Financial Times on Sunday, Guzmán said the country that had defaulted eight times in the past and could not afford to pay bondholders more than the current offer.

“We are, in short, not asking our creditors to lose – but to make less,” Guzmán wrote. “Forcing further austerity to pay for more would not only be economically disastrous, but also politically and morally unacceptable – and ultimately unsustainable.”

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by Michael O'Boyle, Bloomberg

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