(Adds comment from holdout creditor)
By Eliana Raszewski and Davide Scigliuzzo
BUENOS AIRES/NEW YORK, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Argentina, a pariah of the global debt market for more than a decade, believes it has an opportunity to raise debt internationally and on Wednesday began marketing a new bond issue to non-U.S. investors.
Central bank chief Alejandro Vanoli said the government saw an opportune moment to follow some provinces and state-run energy firm YPF which have raised debt abroad.
The South American country has faced prohibitively high borrowing costs since its record 2002 default on $100 billion, in part due to a legal battle with creditors who refused to take part in its 2005 and 2010 restructurings that pushed it into a fresh default in July.
“The global context presents an important window of opportunity,” Vanoli told radio station Blue FM, referring to U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s comments on Tuesday that it would be several months before the Fed might raise interest rates.
Another incentive could be the surge in prices of Argentine debt over the past few sessions partly on market optimism of a more investor-friendly government coming to power after October’s presidential election.
The government has begun marketing a new issue of Bonar 2024 notes via Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan as it seeks to raise cash ahead of upcoming maturities and avoid legal risks in the United States, two people with knowledge of the offering told Thomson Reuters’ IFR.
One of the sources said lead managers have been talking about a sale of $2.7 billion, with proceeds going towards the repayment of its Boden 2015 notes this year.
A new issuance would be its first foray into the dollar-bond market since the flop of a $3 billion offer in December, which attracted only $286 million in bids.
Investors piled into a new $500 million bond from the city of Buenos Aires earlier this month, hoping to reap hefty gains if Argentina mends fences with creditors after October’s vote.
YPF also sold $500 million worth of bonds in its first international debt sale since Argentina’s default.
Argentina was barred by a U.S. judge from paying the coupon on its restructured bonds in July because it refused to also pay a group of so-called “holdout” creditors that rejected its 2005 and 2010 restructurings.
The holdout hedge funds offered last month to restart talks aimed at clearing the country’s non-paying sovereign bonds. Argentina said it was considering the offer but has so far made no public moves to return to talks.
NML Capital Ltd, one of the lead holdout creditors, said it was “dismayed that JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank are participating in the schemes of an international scofflaw, schemes which we believe are an attempt to evade the court-ordered enforcement of bondholders’ rights.”
JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank declined to comment. (Additional reporting by Hugh Bronstein in Buenos Aires and Daniel Bases in New York; Writing by Richard Lough and Sarah Marsh; Editing by Chris Reese, Grant McCool and Cynthia Osterman)