Argentina and its key bondholders are getting closer to a $65 billion debt restructuring deal after the country defaulted on its overseas debt for the ninth time in its history.
While still at odds over several key issues, the latest changes in the proposals by the government and two groups of creditors published Thursday signal the difference between both sides is narrowing. Argentina is now weighing extending the deadline for its offer beyond June 2, giving the parties more time to reach a deal, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
President Alberto Fernandez’s government continues to work on amendments to its revised proposal, said the people, who could not be named because the talks are private. The negotiations may be extended by at least another 10 days, one of them said.
The country’s debt negotiations started more than two months ago, as the country said it can’t meet its obligations amid high unemployment, a sharp drop in the value of its currency and a three-year contraction made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. The government has said it needs $40 billion in debt relief to set the nation back on the path to sustainable growth.
Amid the debt talks, the government continues to support the economy, shuttered due to coronavirus until June 7, and will issue a new round of emergency relief payments to assist families, according to an economy ministry statement Saturday.
In its revised offer Thursday, Argentina proposed a payment moratorium for just two years, instead of three years included in its original offer, among other changes. Nevertheless, the offer won’t be binding until it’s sent for registration under the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Meanwhile, two of the nation’s largest bondholder groups, which include funds such as BlackRock Inc., Ashmore Group Plc and Monarch Alternative Capital LP, also said they submitted a joint proposal Thursday that would provide the country with front-loaded cash flow relief of $36 billion over nine years. The offer would also reduce coupons by an average of 32%, and extend maturities with no amortization payments before 2025.