(Adds additional details on Kicillof, background on legal battle)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, June 25 (Reuters) - Argentina’s Economy Minister Axel Kicillof will hold a news conference following his address on the country’s debt situation to the United Nations, the country’s U.N. ambassador said Wednesday.
Kicillof is due to speak at the U.N. on Wednesday regarding Argentina’s ongoing legal battle with hedge funds who did not take part in the country’s two debt restructurings following a 2001-2002 default.
Argentina’s U.N. Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, who was among those waiting for Kicillof’s arrival at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, said the minister would speak to the media after his U.N. address. A source familiar with Kicillof’s plans said his entourage will be small, with just three or four people from his office.
Kicillof will also meet with lawyers for the Argentine government while in New York, a government source in Buenos Aires told Reuters on Tuesday, but it is unclear if he will also meet with holdout investors.
The country defaulted on approximately $100 billion in debt in 2001-2002. Since then, it restructured that debt in a deal accepted by more than 90 percent of the holders of those bonds. The holdouts, however, have fought for more money, and won a legal judgment in 2012 for $1.33 billion.
A recent order by U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa has heightened the tension in the legal case. Greisa ordered Argentina to pay the holdouts along with its other creditors at a regularly scheduled coupon payment due June 30. Without a resolution, Argentina risks a technical default because they will not be allowed to pay the holders of the restructured debt.
Argentine officials, including President Cristina Fernandez, have said the country will not pay these investors, arguing that it could face a potential demand of up to $15 billion from other holdouts not involved with the case, an amount representing more than half of the government’s $28.5 billion in foreign currency reserves.
Despite the tough public stance, markets believe the parties will eventually negotiate a solution. The price on the country’s U.S. dollar denominated 2033 discount bonds were last traded at 87.4 cents on the dollar on Wednesday, yielding 9.95 percent. At that level, that’s just off Monday’s price for the bonds which was the highest since August 2011.
One week ago, when the threat of a possible default rose, the price of those bonds fell to about 73.4 cents.
Insurance against a default on the country’s debt has dropped in recent days. The annual cost to insure $10 million in bonds was lately about $1.397 million, down from $2.805 million last week. (Reporting By Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)