News Column

China urges talks between Argentina, hedge funds

July 3, 2014



Beijing, Jul 3 (EFE).- The Chinese government expressed sympathy Thursday for Argentina's position in a dispute with hedge-fund creditors who boycotted a debt restructuring and are demanding 100 cents on the dollar for Argentine bonds acquired after Buenos Aires' historic default of December 2001.

"China understands relevant concerns of the Argentine side on debt issues related to the 'vulture fund,'" Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said in response to a journalist's question.

"Vulture funds" is Argentina's term for the holdout creditors.

Beijing "hopes that this issue will be properly resolved at an early date, so as to avoid impact on economic development and social stability of Argentina," Hong told reporters during the ministry's daily press briefing.

"The Argentine government has been taking positive measures over recent years for debt restructuring. Its endeavor to deliver on its commitment to debt repayment has made headway, which China appreciates," the spokesperson said.

China has taken steps in the past to prevent "vulture funds" from using the Hong Kong courts to pursue African sovereign debtors.

Argentine government representatives are due to meet next Monday with a group of holdout creditors led by New York-based Elliott Management Corp.'sNML Capital Ltd unit.

The talks come at the urging of U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa, whose rulings in favor of NML Capital were upheld last week by the Supreme Court.

In a November 2012 decision, Griesa ordered Buenos Aires to repay more than $1.3 billion in defaulted debt to the litigating hedge funds. Including interest, the full amount owed to those bondholders is roughly $1.5 billion.

Implementation of Griesa's order would lead other holdout bondholders that were not part of the New York litigation to demand full repayment on the defaulted debt, according to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez's administration.

Argentina says those potential claims would bring the total owed to the holdouts to some $15 billion, equivalent to half of its foreign-exchange reserves, and trigger a default. EFE

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Source: EFE Ingles


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