Sat, 19 Sep 2020

BUENOS AIRES, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Argentina will pursue a debt refinancing program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if its current debt renegotiation with private creditors fails to lead to an agreement, Economy Minister Martin Guzman said on Sunday.

To avoid defaulting on more than 66 billion U.S. dollars in foreign debt, Argentina's government has proposed some debt alleviation and a longer repayment schedule.

So far, creditors have rejected Argentina's terms, but the country "does not have the capacity to offer more," Guzman told a local daily.

"If there is no agreement, we will go ahead with the IMF on a new program. And we will talk to the private sector again in six or eight months, but with a deeper restructuring proposal," Guzman said.

"We are evaluating all our options ... The reality is that there is no more in terms of what the country can pay year by year. We have made the maximum effort possible," Guzman said.

Argentina's latest offer, submitted on July 6 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, would see the country repay approximately 53.4 dollars of every 100 dollars of debt, following a one-year grace period before starting to make payments.

Creditors made a counter offer, asking for 56 dollars of every 100 dollars of debt.

However, "you have to understand what those three dollars mean. We are talking about billions of dollars in a situation of fragility and strong restrictions," said Guzman, warning that it would force the government to risk further financial instability.

It is now up to creditors to decide whether to save the country from default, which would lead to a suspension of debt payments, said the minister.

Argentina and the IMF agreed to a stand-by deal in mid-2018 for the release of around 56.7 billion dollars, of which the country has received about 44.1 billion dollars in disbursements.

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