March 10, 2020 / 10:44 AM / a month ago

Argentina's decree paves way for $68.8 bln debt revamp

BUENOS AIRES, March 10 (Reuters) - Argentina’s debt restructuring will see the country try to revamp as much as $68.8 billion in foreign law bonds, the government said in a decree early on Tuesday, paving the way for a deal with creditors it hopes to strike this month.

The decree lays out 35 U.S., European and Japanese bonds included in the plans. It comes as Argentina battles to strike a restructuring agreement with bondholders by the end of March to avoid a damaging sovereign default.

Argentina, Latin America’s No. 3 economy, fell into economic crisis in 2018 when it was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a $57 billion credit facility. The crisis worsened last year with recession and a tumbling peso.

The country’s Peronist government, which came to power late last year, has said it cannot pay back what it owes without being given more time to revive stalled economic growth.

The IMF has backed the government view that debt levels are unsustainable and called on private creditors to make a “meaningful contribution” to help resolve the crisis, indicating potential large haircuts on holdings.

Argentine officials met with bondholders including Pimco, Gramercy Funds Management and BlackRock Inc earlier this month. “Constructive” negotiations with the IMF continue.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan

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