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Argentina says “impossible” to avoid default

Jul 22, 2014

Judge Thomas Griesa’s decision not to freeze his ruling against Argentina is pushing the country to default, sovereign says

Argentina said on Tuesday it would be "impossible" to avoid a default after Judge Thomas Griesa declined to postpone effect of a ruling that calls for a $1.5bn payment to holdout creditors led by NML Capital. undefined

Griesa said he did not consider that the stay would help the parties to reach an agreement. Instead he ordered them to hold "continued" talks.

Source: Jorge Gobbi

It will be "impossible" to reach a deal with NML Capital before July 30, when Argentina will be declared in default for failing to pay the holders of restructured bonds, attorney Jonathan Blackman, who represented Argentina in the hearing, was reported as saying by state-run news agency Telam.

Griesa’s order means that Argentina and NML are set to meet at the negotiating table this week. It will be the first official meeting between the two parties since the US Supreme Court upheld the ruling against the country in late June.  

"We are prepared to do as the judge asked and meet continuously with Argentina and the Special Master to resolve this dispute. We are confident this matter could be resolved quickly if Argentina would join us in settlement discussions," an NML spokesman said in a statement.

However, analysts said the default is still a likely outcome. Argentine CDS widened further on Tuesday, trading at upfront levels of 37 after a steady rise from a recent low of 21 earlier this month.

"Judge Griesa’s refusal today to grant the Argentine government a stay in the ongoing debt dispute means that it is increasingly likely that the authorities will default on 30th July. Default is another headwind that will prevent a quick recovery from the ongoing recession," Capital Economics analysts said in a note.

"But the good news is that a meltdown akin to that in 2002, when GDP contracted by almost 11%, seems unlikely."

Even if Argentina is in better economic shape than when it last defaulted, a new default would have a lasting impact on the country’s ailing economy, said Claudio Loser, who heads the Centennial Group Latin America.

"If no agreement is reached and there is a default, some people would say that when there is a new government by the end of next year, things would move … But that would take time, and the damage of not finding a solution now will continue through certainly the early part of any new government," he said in a media call on Monday. LF



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