We’ve raised the possibility Greece’s sovereign debt burden is far lower than the headline figures — and the potential significance of this — in previous posts. Now it’s time to dig in.
(The idea was brought to our attention by Paul Kazarian, whose Japonica Partners has a position in Greek government bonds and would stand to profit from a compression in risk premiums. His interest in the outcome doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong.) Read more
Time is a flat circle, which is why the Greek government is set to run out of money before debt payments are due to the European Central Bank in July — just like last year, and despite last summer’s supposed deal between the Greek government and its various “official sector” creditors.
As before, the immediate cause of this latest crisis is the persistence of disagreements about the size of the budget surpluses (excluding interest) the Greek government is expected to generate, the specific “reforms” the government needs to implement, and the need for debt relief. The fundamental cause, however, is that the Greek government can’t raise money from the private sector at reasonable rates.
Why? Read more
When Zambia issued its first international bond, in 2012, investors could knock themselves out reading a 106-page prospectus of disclosure regarding the southern African sovereign’s finances.
Charles Blitzer, an economist, former senior IMF staffer, and expert on sovereign debt management and restructuring, says that talks between Argentina and its holdouts should start with signing a non-disclosure agreement.
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Mitu Gulati and Bob Rasmussen — members of the law faculties of Duke University and the University of Southern California, respectively — argue that Puerto Rico has another route to restructuring its debts…
The federal courts have declared that Puerto Rico does not have the authority to enact an insolvency regime applicable to its public sector borrowers. Read more
All it took was 11 days — and one schtum Kremlin spokesman — to make people wonder recently just how strong and secure a ruler Vladimir Putin really is.
They might want to look inside his Ukrainian bonds next. Read more
“Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air,” Keynes wrote at the end of the General Theory, “are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”
In Argentina, the scribblers are sovereign bond contract draughtsmen. Read more
And yet somehow — we sense the pari passu saga isn’t over yet.
This would be despite the completeness of Argentina’s defeat in the sovereign debt trial of the century… Read more
This FT Alphaville writer hasn’t read Capital in the Twenty-First Century (YES, OKAY, SORRY).
However, this is so good from William Porter and team at Credit Suisse, it’s time to reconsider: Read more
We can imagine that’s something of a trigger word for Greek bondholders with long memories. Read more
How many sovereign debtors get to be both in hock to the Russians, and using the United States’ full faith and credit to borrow fresh money?
Though we suppose Ukraine’s a special case: Read more
The currency devaluation and official borrowing (to help finance a still-wide government deficit) are expected to push public sector debt up to 57 percent of GDP…
– IMF announcement of $17bn loan programme for Ukraine
Although don’t worry — that’s a whole 3 per cent before a unique debt threshold clause conceivably allows the Russian government to convert $3bn of Ukrainian bonds, which it owns, into demand money. Read more
This year’s IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting is likely to include discussion of proposals to change the fund’s policy on sovereign debt restructuring. Gabriel Sterne, senior economist at Exotix with IMF experience, and Charles Blitzer, Principal at Blitzer Consulting and a former IMF staff member, argue in favour of a case-by-case approach.
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Ah, spring: a season of renewal. The scent of flowers carried on a gentle breeze.
And the international financial community can go back to arguing all over again about whether a promise which Argentina made in a bond issued twenty years ago – to treat creditors equally – will end up making sovereign debt restructuring harder to achieve. Read more
What to do when your creditor invades? Beyond its occupation of Crimea, Russia remains a lender to Ukraine — even as IMF teams ponder the Kiev government’s financial sustainability. Mitu Gulati, a law professor at Duke University, considers both sovereigns’ options.
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These are some mountains in Carinthia, Austria. Bucolic.
That, meanwhile, is the logo of Hypo Alpe Adria, a regional lender rescued by the Austrian government in 2009, and which has now sprung another, €800m black hole… and it is just possible that the name is going to be as memorable as Amagerbanken or SNS Reaal for European banks’ bondholders. Potentially it may be a less than bucolic precedent for sovereign debt, too. Read more
This comes via Shearman & Sterling, in their note on Argentina’s crunching defeat at the Second Circuit (and its Supreme Court litigation options for avoiding paying holdouts alongside current restructured bondholders, which it might have just blown up)…
Emphasis on ‘illustrative’. This is a case where an appeals court ruling has just landed about four months after it was first described as ‘imminent’. Read more
They did it! They finally did it, post-Second Circuit fiasco:
[Bloomberg] Argentina will send a bill to Congress tomorrow [August 27] to reopen a debt restructuring for those creditors who haven’t accepted previous swaps after the nation’s 2001 default, said President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner…
She also said that holders of restructured bonds, who accepted discounts of as much as 70 percent, will be able to swap them into securities governed by Argentine law in a bid to prevent payment disruptions from a U.S. court ruling in favor of the holdouts.
We first looked at the why and how of using a local-law swap to get round the pari passu problem which Argentina has made for itself — back in November. That’s how interminable this pari passu saga has been.
Much more in CFK’s speech. Come for the baldly disingenuous assertion that calling Argentina a “uniquely recalcitrant” debtor is “un poco injusto”; stay for confirmation that the new bonds would be paid through Caja de Valores, the local clearing house. Surely it’s not about showing credibility to the Supreme Court by reopening the swap to holdouts: the actual plaintiffs won’t take the offer, and the judges haven’t considered Argentina’s petition directly yet.
FT Alphaville’s considered take on all this? It’s pretty nuts. Read more
Quelle blague with the pari passu saga, sometimes.
You go to all this effort to scare off the IMF from so much as bleating some tame reservations to the Supreme Court about how a ratable payment of holdouts by Argentina might hurt global ‘policy’ on sovereign debt restructuring. Despite ‘policy’ being something many expected the fund to look at.
Then you watch the French swoop in anyway. And they’re much fiercer than the IMF was going to be. Read more
Did you hear the one about the IMF sending an amicus curiae brief to the highest court in the United States in favour of taking up the pari passu case of its infamous lost cause, Argentina?
Well here’s the punchline: US opposition has abruptly killed the plan. Read more
Yes, it’s time for a trip back into those Cypriot debt contracts.
Cyprus announced the results of its sovereign debt restructuring on some €1bn of domestic-law bonds earlier this week. The one the Troika wanted for — OH. Oopsy-daisy. Did FT Alphaville say sovereign restructuring. We meant “debt management operation”. Read more
Not a reference to the Second Circuit’s imminent ruling in the Argentina case, nor the Argentine government’s late-night petitioning to the Supreme Court over pari passu. Although it could be.
We’ve already seen how NML Capital v Argentina has influenced Grenada’s legal battle with the Taiwanese government-owned Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China.
Now for something that might particularly bear on the future. Read more
Not long now until the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit finally makes its ruling on trickier parts of the Argentina pari passu case. No later than early July, probably. Can’t wait.
Argentina couldn’t wait. The government filed its long-expected cert petition to the Supreme Court this week, mostly in order to complain about the federal-law implications of the Second Circuit’s original ruling in October 2012. There’s lots of outrage about ‘sovereign property’ and the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
But one Taiwanese development bank and its Caribbean island borrower, fighting each other over $32m of defaulted loans in The Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China v Grenada, really couldn’t wait… Read more
Click for the IMF’s “ex post evaluation” of its role in the Greek bailout. Its mea culpa.
And if you thought we were being harsh here, parts of the real thing are excoriating.
This is even though the report decides Greece’s exceptional access to IMF lending was justified (generally), and it still says much fiscal adjustment could not be avoided. Policies were “broadly correct”. But it does strongly suggest that debt restructuring should have come sooner.
So, the International Monetary Fund (effectively) wishes to apologise to all concerned for that little thing where it turned into Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s presidential election campaign a few years back.
Sorry if a country got broken along the way: Read more
Well, this was fun while it lasted. Now what did it mean?
Click to enlarge the document capping a weird week in the pari passu saga:
It’s an order from the Second Circuit on Thursday, denying an unusual request filed on Monday by the Italian retail investors who count themselves among Argentina’s holdouts.
Although looking back at it, was the unusual or just ahead of the curve? Read more
Sometimes, the courts of England and Wales taketh away when it comes to the law on restructuring bonds and getting debtors out of holes. And other times they giveth.
A landmark decision by the England and Wales Court of Appeal on Monday falls under the latter… Read more
File under: Argentina’s battle with its holdouts and the effects thereof on pari passu clauses in sovereign bond contracts elsewhere in the world — with a special crossover to the changing legal status of official lenders in the eurozone crisis.
Spot the difference edition. Read more