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Argentina in defaults as talks with bondholders continue

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Argentina is on course for a technical default after failing to pay 503 million U.S. dollars in interest payments on Friday as the country continues to talk with creditors to restructure its 66-billion-dollars debt.

Argentina has officially pushed the deadline for a deal to June 2 to reach an agreement with bondholders, said Economy Minister Martin Guzman, adding that there may be possible modifications to the initial proposal made by the government, which includes a 62 percent reduction on interest and a new grace period of three years.

The Argentina’s ambassador to the United States, Jorge Arguello, confirmed the country’s failure to make the payment on Friday while discussing an imminent agreement with creditors.

“In the face of reaching an agreement with its creditors on the new terms of its bonds, Argentina will defer this payment until it reaches an agreement with creditors and new terms are concluded over the interest to be paid on the said bonds,” said Arguello.

The U.S.-based ratings agency Moody’s said Argentina’s default is “consistent” with its current CA credit rating, adding that “looking ahead, Moody’s anticipates that the outlook for Argentina’s debt restructuring will most likely become more complicated.”

Argentinean economist Horacio Rovelli told Xinhua that despite the non-payment, the country will not face “immediate legal consequences, given current negotiations with private creditors.”

(XINHUA)

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Argentina sees record high COVID-19 cases amid economic uncertainty

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Argentina recorded 723 daily new cases Sunday, the highest since its first COVID-19 case on March 3, while the country is taking measures to cushion the fallout of the pandemic.

So far, 12,628 people have tested positive and 471 people have died from the disease. More than 80 percent of the cases are concentrated in the capital Buenos Aires and the metropolitan area, which encompasses some 40 surrounding towns.

President Alberto Fernandez has extended the lockdown to June 7, and enforced restrictions more strictly in the Buenos Aires area, while other provinces began to gradually ease restrictions.

In the metropolitan area, officials have launched Detect, a testing program designed to better control the spread of the virus in particularly hard-hit communities.

On the economic front, economic activity fell 11.5 percent in March compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Economy Ministry’s monthly estimate.

With that in mind, the government moved to help the more vulnerable, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and low-income households, by expanding the monetary base, that is, putting more money in circulation, as a way to counter the economic impact of the pandemic.

It created an “Emergency Household Income” of 10,000 pesos (146 U.S. dollars) for informal workers such as domestic workers, and those with no steady income.

It also launched an emergency aid program for workers and production that aims to protect jobs and ensure productivity by helping, among others, tourism-related enterprises like hotels and travel agencies.

SMEs are temporarily exempt from paying state taxes, and there is a freeze on rents and evictions, zero-interest loans for freelancers and the self-employed, and preferential loans for companies.

Key production has been maintained at pre-pandemic levels in Argentina, but some analysts believe the government may not have the capacity to keep up its aid programs.

“While the government is trying through social and economic policy to mitigate the impact of inactivity, a particularly fragile fiscal situation will limit its capacity to sustain the current conditions over time,” the Center for the Implementation of Public Policy for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) said in a recent report.

“The challenge that public policy faces is considerable: it presumes a re-engineering of the productive process on an unprecedented scale, amid a health and economic emergency, and with limited resources,” said the center.

Despite being one of the Latin American countries most highly regarded for its capacity to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, Argentina faces many uncertainties about its economic future following the pandemic, given its weak financial and fiscal situation.

(XINHUA)

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Argentina open to extending debt renegotiation deadline: minister

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Argentina is open to extending its May 22 deadline for renegotiating its foreign debt with creditors, Economy Minister Martin Guzman said on Tuesday.

“There’s a great chance the deadline will be extended … We are in the middle of a negotiation, both sides are working to reach an agreement,” Guzman said during a virtual conference with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S.-Argentina Business Council.

Argentina hopes to restructure its debt obligations on an estimated 68 billion U.S. dollars in foreign debt.

In April, the government presented a debt restructuring plan that includes a three-year grace period that allows the country to begin servicing the debt starting in 2023, shaves 5.4 percent off the capital payments, and cuts 62 percent off the interest payments.

“We’re flexible,” said Guzman, but committed to finding a solution that will enable Argentina to sustainably meet its debt obligations.

“What we need is a sustainable agreement that brings together the conditions needed to put Argentina back on its feet,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Argentina’s president lauds lockdown strategy for curbing COVID-19

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Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez on Tuesday praised his country’s two-month lockdown strategy for effectively containing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We Argentinians understood the risk and we had in each governor the leader needed to spur people to stay at home,” Fernandez said during a tour of a Volkswagen plant in Tigre, a city on the outskirts of northern Greater Buenos Aires.

“In each union leader we had the exact leader to explain why it was necessary to self-isolate. In each mayor, the right person to have the people abide by all of this,” Fernandez added.

Countries that were more flexible with their containment strategies must still deal with the same economic fallout as those that adopted stricter lockdown measures, he said, “because it’s not just our problem, it’s the world‘s problem, it’s global.”

Since economies were going to suffer the impact of the pandemic anyway, it was the right thing to do “to prioritize people’s lives and health,” said the president, indicating Argentina will take a cautious approach to resuming economic activity.

“We are going to continue to do that (protecting lives) because we care about the people as much as we care about economic development,” he said.

The industrial hub Fernandez visited resumed operating on Monday, with the permission of national, regional and local authorities, and with social distancing measures in place, including 1,500 workers, or half the usual number, working on six-hour shifts.

Argentina, which declared a lockdown on March 20, has seen one of the smaller outbreaks in Latin America, with 8,371 cases of infection and 382 deaths by Monday.

The lockdown continues until May 24.

(XINHUA)

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Argentina extends debt renegotiation deadline to May 22

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Argentina on Monday announced it extended its debt renegotiation deadline to May 22 to allow creditors more time to consider the government’s offer of a debt swap on its estimated 68 billion U.S. dollars in foreign debt.

The decision published in the Government Gazette gives both sides until 6 p.m. local time (2100 GMT) of May 22 to try and hammer out an agreement.

Officials deemed it was “convenient to extend that date in order to increase the participation” of creditors in the talks and “continue actively communicating with eligible bond holders,” the government said.

“This extension is considered necessary within the framework of the negotiations that Argentina has promoted in good faith with its creditors to reestablish the sustainability of its public debt in foreignlaw bonds,” the text added.

The outcome of the talks is to be announced no later than May 25.

The extension comes after the original May 8 deadline was rejected by the three leading groups of creditors.

Argentina’s debt restructuring plan includes a three-year grace period that allows the country to begin servicing the debt starting in 2023, shaves 5.4 percent off the capital payments, and cuts 62 percent off the interest payments.

(XINHUA)

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5.4-magnitude quake hits 81 km west of San Antonio de los Cobres, Argentina — USGS

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An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 jolted 81 km west of San Antonio de los Cobres, Argentina at 05:37:16 GMT on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 154.22 km, was initially determined to be at 24.3224 degrees south latitude and 67.1177 degrees west longitude.

(XINHUA)

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More Chinese medical supplies arrive in Argentina amid pandemic

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The third shipment of Chinese medical supplies on Thursday arrived in Buenos Aires to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Third flight to China completed,” Aerolineas Argentinas, the South American nation’s largest airline, confirmed the flight’s arrival via Twitter.

According to Argentina’s state news agency Telam, the shipment was part of bilateral health cooperation amid the pandemic.

Argentina and China have set up the first ever air bridge between them since last week to supply the South American country with much-needed medical supplies, including vital personal protective equipment for health care workers.

More deliveries are scheduled in the coming weeks.

Argentina has so far reported 3,288 cases and 159 deaths from the disease.
(XINHUA)

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Argentina fails to meet interest payment on foreign loans

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Amid wrangling with creditors to reach an agreement on restructuring of some 68 billion dollars in foreign loans, Argentina has failed to pay a key instalment.

Argentina’s government failed to meet an interest payment on government bonds of around 500 million dollars, the Ministry of Commerce said in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

The country has another 30 days to reach agreement on debt restructuring.

The government wants both debt repayments and interest payments to be put on hold for three years.

An international creditor group has rejected Argentina’s latest proposal, raising concerns that the country could default on its foreign loans.

Argentina faces a serious economic crisis, suffering from an inflated state apparatus, low industrial productivity and a large shadow economy, depriving the state of tax revenue.

The International Monetary Fund recently declared the south American country’s debt unsustainable and predicted a 5.7 per cent decline in its economic power this year.

The government recently imposed far-reaching restrictions on the economy and virtually paralysed it for weeks with its coronavirus response.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Argentina officially proposes debt swap deal

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Argentina on Wednesday officially proposed to restructure its 68.8 billion U.S. dollars in foreign debts, calling on creditors to accept a debt swap deal.

The details of the plan — which basically allows the South American country to issue foreignlaw bonds in U.S. dollars and euros — were published in the Government Gazette.

“The proposal will let the state restore the sustainability of public debt issued in foreignlaw bonds” and “allow it to service its debt in keeping with Argentina’s payment capacity,” the government said.

According to a prospectus submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. dollar-denominated bonds issued would amount to no more than 44.5 billion U.S. dollars, and euro-denominated bonds to no more than 17.6 billion euros.

The proposal calls for issuing 10 types of bonds that pay interest in U.S. dollars and euros at rates ranging from 0.50 to 4.875 percent, and expire in 2030, 2036, 2039, 2043 and 2047.

Initial interest payments would not begin until May 2023.

Argentina’s debt restructuring plan includes a three-year grace period that allows the country to begin servicing the debt starting in 2023, shaves 5.4 percent off the capital payments, and cuts 62 percent off the interest payments.

The government has given creditors until May 8 to accept the offer, though the deadline could be extended if the parties enter into negotiation.
(XINHUA)

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Argentina receives new shipment of Chinese medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

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Argentina has received a 14-ton shipment of medical supplies from China to help combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, the office of the nation’s president announced Monday.

The cargo arrived at the Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, two days after an initial flight had delivered 13 tons of medical equipment.

Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia and Transportation Minister Mario Meoni welcomed the plane, along with the head of the airline, Pablo Ceriani.

The shipment came from Shanghai, aboard an Airbus 330-200 whose cargo capacity had been increased by 84 percent.

Argentina and China set up the first ever air bridge between them over the weekend to supply the South American country with much-needed medical supplies amid the COVID-19 outbreak, including vital personal protective equipment for health care workers.

More deliveries are scheduled in the coming weeks.

“We are very happy about how the operation is unfolding, without delays. The Chinese government is making the whole operation very smooth for us,” said Ceriani.

As of Monday morning, Argentina had 2,941 COVID-19 cases, including 136 deaths.
(XINHUA)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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