Argentina says hedge funds seek delay on debt offer

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BUENOS AIRES: Argentina said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) the bondholders with whom it recently restarted talks on paying billions of dollars in defaulted debt have asked it to postpone its repayment proposal to February.

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The country’s new conservative government had announced plans to present its proposal next week for the repayment of some $10 billion owed to so-called holdout creditors refusing to accept a debt restructuring deal.

Officials had said they hoped the plan would finally provide a resolution to the long-running financial crisis.

But the two US hedge funds suing for full repayment requested a postponement until the first week of February, citing “logistical” problems, said the Argentine finance ministry.
It did not say whether it had agreed to the request.

Argentine media said the hedge funds had asked the government to sign a confidentiality agreement, but Finance Secretary Luis Caputo vowed that any offer made to creditors would be public, “to guarantee the transparency of the process.”

US federal judge Thomas Griesa has derailed Argentina’s efforts to restructure the debt it defaulted on during its 2001 economic crisis, ruling the country cannot repay creditors who agreed to take heavy losses until it first repays the holdouts.

The previous Argentine government, led by leftist president Cristina Kirchner, fought the ruling and branded the hedge funds “vultures” for buying defaulted bonds on the cheap, then suing for full repayment.

But her business-friendly successor, Mauricio Macri, has vowed to speedily resolve the dispute, which has blocked the struggling country’s access to international capital markets.

AFP

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