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ECONOMY | 11-06-2020 01:51

Fernández says Argentina will improve its debt offer to creditors

"The offer that we are going to make is not going to put at risk the sustainability of the debt and the Argentine economy," president declares in interview.

President Alberto Fernández said Wednesday that Argentina will improve its debt restructuring offer to creditors, though he warned negotiators would not jeopardise the country's future in striking a deal.

"It's clear that Argentina must find an agreement with the creditors. It's clear that the creditors did not accept the offer. It's clear that Argentina is going to improve its offer," the president told a local radio station.

Speaking prior to a meeting with Economy Minister Martín Guzmán, the Peronist leader told Radio 10 he was about "to see the final details" of Argentina's new proposal.

Talks are currently ongoing with bondholders to restructure more than US$66 billion of debt issued under foreign law.

Despite reports in the local press suggesting a deal was closer than ever, Fernández did not rule out extending this Friday's deadline for negotiations to finish by another 10 days.

Fernández again stressed the importance of "sustainability," both for Argentina's economy and future debt repayments.

"The offer that we are going to make is not going to put at risk the sustainability of the debt and the Argentine economy," the president reiterated.

"I don't want to live anymore in an Argentina that has to choose between raising retired people or paying debt," he warned.

"I want a debt that we can pay and in which we are not sacrificing those who have the least," he concluded.

Argentina fell into default on May 22, when it defaulted on a maturity of $ US500 million in interest on three of the bonds subject to debt swap proposal.

The deadline for talks has been extended three times to date.

"These negotiations are never settled in one day. We have been going for about two months and we have come a long way," said Fernández. "We still have differences, but if there is someone who doesn't want default, it is Argentina's president."

Fernández said the government had reconsidered its offer and counter-proposals from creditors and would make another offer that would try "to get closer."

 

'Final offer'

In an interview with Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico, Guzmán said Thursday that Argentina's next offer would not be improved on. With the deadline due tomorrow, the economy minister said he hoped this new proposal would bring creditors closer to a deal. He said it would include a "very modest" reduction in capital and to modify interest rates. 

"We are seeking to reach a solution that respects the restrictions that Argentina faces, that we have defined with the IMF and that satisfies the preferences of creditors," he said.

Guzmán also praised the "constructive" relationship the country has had with the International Monetary Fund and said Argentina would seek to agree a three-year grace period with the Fund once a debt restructuring deal with private creditors was confirmed.

The government's hope is to"not to have to make capital payments to the IMF in the next three years, simply because Argentina does not have the capacity" to do so, said Guzmán.

– TIMES/AFP

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