Argentina will send a negotiating team to New York on Monday for further talks with a U.S. court-appointed mediator in a debt dispute with 'holdout' investors, cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich said, with just three days to go to avert a default.
After a series of defeats in U.S. courts, Latin America's No. 3 economy will default on its debt for the second time in 12 years if it fails to pay the New York hedge funds suing for full repayment on their bonds or reach a deal.
Negotiations have made scant progress in the past three weeks. If the deadlock persists, U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa will prevent Argentina from making a July 30 deadline for a coupon payment on exchanged bonds, triggering a new default.
Argentina wants a stay of Griesa's 2012 ruling ordering the Buenos Aires government to pay the holdouts. The holdouts bought Argentine junk bonds on the cheap after its $100 billion default in 2002 and then rejected the terms of restructuring.
"The negotiations are extremely complicated and need time. For this reason Argentina wants a stay," Capitanich told reporters.
Capitanich said the negotiators would meet mediator Daniel Pollack on Tuesday.
Asked if he had meetings scheduled with Argentine officials on Monday or Tuesday, Pollack said: "The answer lies strictly in the hands of the Republic of Argentina."
Pollack told Reuters he had not heard from Argentine officials since a technical delegation left New York on Friday evening to consult with the government after talks which lasted barely an hour.
"I made it perfectly clear to them that I am available to them at any and all times, either in person or by telephone, in view of the gravity of this situation and the shortness of time to resolve it without default," Pollack said.
Argentina's isolation from global capital markets means an eventual default would be highly unlikely to send shockwaves through emerging markets worldwide, but it will hurt a domestic economy already in recession and battling soaring inflation.
Analysts say a last-minute deal cannot be discounted but a default looks increasingly likely as the deadline approaches.
Capitanich said the government representatives included Finance Secretary Pablo Lopez, Attorney General Angelina Abbona, as well as the Economy Ministry's Legal and Technical Secretary Federico Thea.
© 2023 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.