Posts tagged 'Sovereign Debt'

Argentina, default, and the prisoner’s dilemma

That was the Argentine economy minister, Axel Kicillof, shortly before pixel time, having announced a (rejected) ‘offer’ of the same terms as Argentina’s restructured debt to the holdouts; blamed Judge Griesa; and otherwise prepared his country for default. Direct negotiations, in short, are over for now. Read more

The get out of RUFO free card

Update – Midnight UK time: Argentine press was reporting at pixel time that the country’s banks may provide collateral to the holdouts for a temporary stay. Argentina would then use the stay to ask restructured bondholders to consent to waiving the RUFO clause. (Using private banks to pay the collateral would avoid a RUFO trigger.) Also at pixel time, Argentina’s economy minister had entered negotiations in New York — so something was up.

The talks may move quickly into Wednesday. But the emergency stay request in the original post below shows some of the issues here… Read more

Rearranging the ISINs on the Titanic

We are one day away from Argentina’s second default this century. Drama or farce?

Farce. For all the confusion that was on show in Judge Griesa’s hearing last week, about whether Argentina’s restructured local-law bonds should join the foreign-law debt within the pile of paper at risk…

At least holders of these bonds will be OK after all on Wednesday.

Only just this once, though. And they were let off for a reason which underlines tensions we’ve been noting in the pari passu saga between enhanced powers to enforce sovereign debt, and the complexity of international finance. Read more

Exorbitant privilege, meet pari passu

With less than a fortnight until Argentina risks defaulting on its restructured debt, there will be another hearing in the pari passu saga later on Tuesday. After a look at Argentina’s position, now for what Judge Griesa’s hearing will focus on — restructured bondholders who argue that he has no jurisdiction over them…

Notably, local-law restructured bondholders. Read more

The RUFO persecution complex

“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

We are negotiating. You are litigating. They are going for the eyes

“The recalcitrant scum of the earth, I believe?”

“Ah, the vultures of global usury, I presume?”

To commemorate the beginning of negotiations in New York later on Monday between Argentina and Elliott… Read more

A letter to Judge Griesa

Delivered by Cleary Gottlieb on Monday — and freshly tweeted by La Presidenta. Click to enlarge: Read more

Pari passu: CDS interlude

Hat-tip to Joe Rennison at Risk.net, and Bloomberg — a mystery “CDS Holder” has asked Isda’s determinations committee to look at whether Argentina’s government could have potentially triggered CDS on the country during its confused responses to defeat at the Supreme Court last week…

The request — to extend a maturing CDS contract, hence the ‘potential’ language — centres on the economy minister’s statement last week that the judgment made paying the restructured debts “impossible”: Read more

About that Ukrainian bond Russia owns…

Russia says Ukraine hasn’t paid interest due June 20 on that $3bn eurobond.

Ukraine said on Thursday that it had. Read more

There goes the “no pasaran” plan

Here’s the order which Judge Thomas Griesa made late on Friday, forbidding Argentina from swapping its restructured bondholders from New York law to its local legislation… Read more

Sovereign debt reprofiling, take two — from the IMF

The IMF has picked its week to publish another paper on changing its sovereign debt restructuring policy…

Although the paper released on Friday — which follows an initial review last year — isn’t about Argentina, pari passu, and holdout issues. It’s about Greece. Read more

They shall not pass (but let’s try and reroute our bonds around them anyway)

We cannot allow that we are prevented from honouring our commitments to 93 per cent of bondholders. We are going to initiate a debt swap to pay the bonds in Argentina, under local legislation…

That would be Axel Kicillof, Argentina’s economy minister.

Late on Tuesday, Kicillof revealed the Argentine government’s actual plan for life after its final defeat in the pari passu case — a canje, or swap out of New York legislation into local law for its restructured debt, to avoid paying everyone (or no one) in New York as per the pari passu injunction.

If you can’t get the US courts to throw the problem out of your bonds, get your bonds away from US courts.

A flawless plan — if the US courts weren’t already furious with Argentina, and if the entities whose help the republic would need to organise a swap (lawyers, payment agents, and so on) weren’t subject to those courts. Read more

A message from CFK

The fact is that Argentina has shown, and maintains, a willingness to negotiate. What it does not hold with is, well, let’s say it, let’s spell it out, to be subjected to extortion. I do not believe that either our country or our bondholders deserve to have impeded, or to have seized, the funds that we will pay later this month, on June 30, we have $900m maturing and we will pay it…

I have instructed the ministry for the economy and all the technical agencies of the national state to prepare all the instruments and all the strategies necessary such that all who put their confidence in Argentina get their money, get the dollars which we have committed to pay. But we want to do that with seriousness and responsibility.

 Read more

Bad day to be a recalcitrant sovereign debtor

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

The injunction has landed: Pari passu, the Black Eagle, and sovereign debt enforcement

Later on Thursday, the US Supreme Court may decide whether to accept or reject Argentina’s pari passu case. Rejection could mean a swift end to the saga. Argentina would be left to decide whether to comply with paying bond holdouts alongside its restructured debt, or defaulting on both, or settling with the holdouts.

It’s always possible however that the court decides another day, or just asks the US Solicitor General to advise. That can take months. Hey. It’s the pari passu saga. (Update: no decision after all from the court on Thursday, it seems.)

Still, this is a moment for the enforcement of sovereign debt, supposedly the least enforceable of financial instruments. That’s a fascinating subject in itself. In fact we argued in a paper forthcoming in the Capital Markets Law Journal that the origins of pari passu may lie in enforcement. What pari passu ‘means’ in sovereign debt may not matter so much as its use.

We wrote it as one of many responses to Mitu Gulati and Benjamin Chabot’s great study of one possible origin for pari passu, in a Mexican bond of the 1840s, the ‘Black Eagle’. We’ve placed an expanded and version below. Warning, it’s 2,500 words and is in an academic style. But we hope it’s some context for the saga… Read more

Recalcitrant, moi? The courtroom version

On Thursday, we reported on a memo by Cleary Gottlieb, lawyers to Argentina in sovereign debt matters.

The memo suggested that the “best option” for its client would be to default upon its restructured bonds — then to immediately reroute their payments beyond the reach of US courts — should the US Supreme Court decline in the coming weeks to review an order requiring holdouts to be paid too. (Update: full memo here, as a Word doc.)

Which is rather extraordinary advice. The memo also emerged in the week Argentina supposedly showed good faith to the Paris Club. (And in fairness, the memo also considers settling with holdouts).

On Friday, the holdouts’ lawyers beat a path to the courthouse. Read more

Recalcitrant, moi?

Argentina made a deal with the Paris Club on Thursday. A mere 13 years after defaulting on them.

The scheme offers a framework for a sustainable and definitive solution to the question of arrears due by the Argentine Republic to Paris Club creditors, covering a total stock of arrears of USD 9.7 billion, as of 30 April 2014. It provides a flexible structure for clearance of arrears within five years including a minimum of USD 1150 million to be paid by May 2015, the following payment being due in May 2016…

And yes, this means something to the pari passu saga.

It means that a deal with holdouts is a matter of time. Read more

Credit Suisse reads Piketty

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

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing, except when it’s a Greek bond tax [updated]

“R-r-r-r-retroactive?”*

We can imagine that’s something of a trigger word for Greek bondholders with long memories. Read more

Ukraine, Gazprom, and the full faith and credit

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

It’s Mostly Fiscal, Ukraine edition

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

That new Greek bond — the terms

Coupon not fixed yet. But note a) that they’ve hired lots of banks to sell this and b) the law… Read more

Guest post: What if Putin had bought Crimea?

The prospect of selling any sovereign territory to resolve disputes may seem like a taboo — especially so when it comes to the conflicted territory of Crimea. However, Joseph Blocher and Mitu Gulati, both law professors at Duke University, argue that such a “market” should in future be considered in public international law.

______________________ Read more

Guest post: The IMF approach to sovereign debt restructuring

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.

_______________ Read more

Credit ratings are weird, Crimea edition

Ho ho Standard & Poor’s, very clever, but we saw right through your April Fool’s joke.

First, the parody of lifeless regulatory jargon here is just a little too carried away: Read more

Pari passu, plus ça change

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

Guest post: Ukraine’s debt — now comes the interesting bit

When your creditor takes some of your territory — can you make that territory take some of your debt? Mitu Gulati, a law professor at Duke University, last wrote for us on Russia’s $3bn Ukrainian bond. With Russia reinforcing its annexation of Crimea, Mitu considers Ukraine’s options with its debt after the secession.

___________ Read more

Guest post: Mr Putin’s clever bond issue

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.

________________ Read more

So long, Ukraine $1,984,838,000 5.00 per cent Notes due 2015

Notwithstanding the approval and publication by the Central Bank of Ireland of the prospectus dated 17 February 2014 in relation to the undermentioned proposed issue of securities, the Issuer hereby confirms that no such securities will be issued.

UKRAINE REPRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE OF UKRAINE Read more

Ukraine $1,984,838,000 5.00 per cent Notes due 2015 — and the burning tyres therein

Moscow doesn’t send tanks into revolting former vassals any more. It sends dollars.

For anyone who decides to follow the money when it comes to Ukraine’s split between the EU and Russia, the consequences can sometimes be grimly surreal when it gets to the prosaic matters of bond finance. Read more