Buenos Aires Province proposes its own debt delay

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Buenos Aires Province, the country’s largest, is following the footsteps of the national government in requesting a three-year debt moratorium.

The provincial government, led by Governor Axel Kicillof, proposed to start paying 1.97 percent coupons in 2023 that will increase over time, according to a statement.

Once the coupons reach their caps, the average interest will be 4.56% for dollar-denominated bonds and 2.94 percent for euro bonds, an offer that would lead to savings of 55 percent in coupon payments from 2020 to 2027.

The request for a grace period is similar in structure to an offer by the national government last week.

The government officially launched a proposal on Wednesday to restructure US$66 billion of bonds and push back interest and capital payments to save some US$40 billion. The offer, unveiled last Friday, would halt payments until 2023 and cut interest rates sharply.

Wall Street analysts, however, said the debt restructuring proposal was an aggressive opening salvo that still needs plenty of tinkering to secure the approval of bondholders.

Argentina’s three major creditor groups have rejected the initial proposal. One called the plan “unacceptable,” while another said the plan put a “disproportionate share” of the nation’s adjustment efforts on the shoulders of international bondholders. The groups didn’t give specifics of where the offer fell short or what they’d like instead.

– TIMES/BLOOMBERG

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