Finance Secretary Luis Caputo leaving the holdout negotiations yesterday in New York. Photo via La Nación.
You thought your Monday was tough? Yesterday, Finance Secretary Luis Caputo met with Special Master (mediator) Daniel Pollack along with representatives of the holdout creditors, or vulture funds, in New York to further discuss Argentina’s payment of the sovereign debt.
According to Pollack, the country’s total debt now stands at US$9 billion. The Argentine representatives will continue working to lower that number, but so far, no agreement has been reached. To be fair, Caputo had told the press “not to expect anything new” before going in yesterday.
“Ideas were discussed, informally, on settling the demands which add up to approximately US$ 9 billion. There hasn’t been an agreement yet. There is no specific date to resume negotiations but it’s possible that they will continue this week,” said Pollack, according to a statement.
Pollack has also asked both the Argentine government and the holdouts’ representatives to not leak information about the negotiations. However, according to a press release from the Finance Ministry, the government is set to present an offer regarding the payment of the sovereign debt this week and that the final number is still “being discussed.”
The objective of President Mauricio Macri’s financial team is to lower the punishing interests that hover over Argentina’s debt, which New York Judge Thomas Griesa added in a ruling last year.
New York Judge Thomas Griesa.
New York Judge Thomas Griesa.
However, the press release clarified that the number offered will be “very different from what has appeared in the media.” Before yesterday’s meeting, there had been rumors that the number sought by the government would have a 15 percent reduction. In fact, the number to be paid before yesterday’s meeting was in the US$ 10 billion ballpark, not US$ 9 billion.
Quick recap: after Argentina’s economic meltdown in 2001, the country defaulted on its international debt. A group of creditors purchased some of the defaulted bonds and refused to accept a debt restructuring plan that would have exchanged the original bonds for bonds worth 30 cents on the dollar, insisting instead the debt be repaid in full (hence the name “vultures.”) New York Justice Thomas Griesa ruled in their favor and Argentina is now faced with negotiating the payment.