Honduras authorizes additional $2.5 billion in debt to help fight pandemic

Honduras authorizes additional $2.5 billion in debt to help fight pandemic

Bonds Debt Capital Markets Corporate & Sovereign Strategy Economy & Policy Fixed Income Honduras Latin America Coronavirus

Honduras’ Congress voted on Thursday to allow the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez to issue an additional $2.5 billion in debt to bolster its fight against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, according to press reports.

The vote allows the government to raise its debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio to 55%.

Attempts to reach the Honduran Ministry of Finance for comment were not immediately successful.

The debt could be issued during the 2020 or 2021 fiscal years, according to a report published by Radio America.

The decision by Honduras, considered one of the poorest countries in the Americas, comes on the heels of a decision by the International Monetary Fund on March 31 to disburse $143 million to the country in order to help support limited health and social welfare systems in light of the pandemic. President Hernandez has ordered strict lock-down of the nation, with a curfew in place through April 12. Public transportation is suspended, government offices and businesses are closed and the Congress is moving toward adopting a virtual meeting system in the coming weeks.

Honduras has 219 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 14 reported deaths tied to the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. The pandemic has infected over 1 million individuals, globally, and been blamed for killing nearly 53,000 as of Thursday.