Argentina to unveil new debt offer to creditors, push deadline to late August

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina is set to unveil a new debt restructuring offer that will be kept open until the end of August, President Alberto Fernandez told local radio on Sunday, as the government seeks to strike a deal despite rising tensions with creditors.

“The offer will be known today and will be open until the end of August,” the center-left Peronist leader said in an interview with Radio Milenium, suggesting a current July 24 deadline for a deal would be further extended.

“The proposal we are making is a huge effort, but it is the maximum effort we can make,” Fernandez added. “I hope that the creditors can understand that.”

Argentina is racing to revamp $65 billion in foreign bonds after tumbling into its ninth sovereign default in May. A deal is key to avoiding a messy and protracted legal standoff that would lock the country out of international credit markets.

The debt talks had progressed well, helping lift local bond prices, until hitting turbulence in mid-June. Two key bondholder groups have since criticized a lack of engagements with the government and pushed for stronger legal protection in any deal.

The government is expected in coming days to formalize the new offer by sending it to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a source told Reuters on Friday.

Argentina’s debt restructuring process has been buffeted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which is pushing the country deeper into recession and driving up poverty. The South American country’s economy is expected to contract around 12% this year.

The grains producing stronghold is also looking to strike a new deal with major backer the International Monetary Fund, to help replace a $57 billion credit facility agreed in 2018.

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