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Exclusive: Argentina to unveil debt restructuring ‘guideposts’ this week, no formal offer yet for creditors – source

By Adam Jourdan and Rodrigo Campos

BUENOS AIRES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Argentina will lay out “guideposts” this week for a restructuring of its nearly $70 billion in foreign debt, but the country is not yet ready to make a formal proposal to creditors, a person briefed on the government’s plans told Reuters on Monday.

The government had initially set the end of March as a deadline for reaching a deal with bondholders but has faced delays in the process, many due to the coronavirus pandemic that has hammered global economies and shut down borders.

Argentina is facing a race to revamp its debts with private creditors and major backers including the International Monetary Fund and stave off a default, which could cut off its access to global markets even as it battles recession and inflation.

The person, who asked not to be identified because the ongoing talks are not public, added that the Argentine government also intended to make a roughly $225 million interest payment due on Tuesday as it looked to keep creditors at ease.

Argentina’s economy ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The guideposts, to be unveiled early this week, will add detail to the macroeconomic roadmap the government presented earlier this month, the person briefed on the matter added, and give principles for a sustainable debt restructuring “without it laying out an offer.”

Argentina had initially intended to launch an offer for creditors by mid-March and strike a deal by the month’s end. It has been hurt the pandemic, however, which has seen it forced to cancel roadshows and hold digital meetings with creditors.

“There’s been some necessary delay from the coronavirus that was obviously unanticipated,” the person added.

Argentina’s Economy Minister Martin Guzman has said that under realistic fiscal and growth forecasts Argentina cannot service its current debt loads and needs substantial relief from its global creditors.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Tom Brown)