19 April 2016

Argentine Finance Minister Alfonso Prat Gay: "The debt issue has been tremendously successful"


The Argentine Minister of Finance Alfonso Prat-Gay said today that the debt bond issue launched by Argentina has had a "tremendously successful" response, with a demand of more than 60 billion dollars, adding that now "a new path begins that will lead to investment and decent jobs".

"Historically, this is the greatest demand we have ever seen for bonds or shares by a government or company from an emerging market. It is probably among the 20 largest demands in history for a bond from a country that is still in default”, he stated.

The minister stressed that "it is really impressive that we have gone so quickly from a bleak outlook to the possibility of reconnecting with the world" and said that next Friday Argentina "will bring its payments up to date" with all its creditors. Prat Gay talked about exiting default at a press conference this morning alongside the Argentine Chief of Staff Marcos Peña, after the cabinet meeting led by President Mauricio Macri in the Casa Rosada (Argentina’s government house).

He stated that the government’s negotiations were not done “to garner favour with the rest of the world", but to “enable Argentines to have decent jobs and businesses to invest once more”.

Marcos Peña, meanwhile, emphasised that "everything that is allowing us to move toward exiting default is essential” so that Argentina can “create jobs, overcome poverty and enjoy a better society”.

Prat Gay said that following this debt issuance, Argentina’s provinces will be able to return to the financial markets in an orderly manner, laying the groundwork "for there to be more jobs and for Argentina to grow once more and start the journey” toward the goal of Zero Poverty.

“We are solving three issues at the same time: the default of 2001, the previous government’s default for unpaid bonds that had been restructured, and we are returning to the financial markets”, the minister explained.

He added that in this way “we will raise funds for our infrastructure plan that will provide greater connectivity, jobs and help pay off the deficit”.

Prat Gay stressed that the government is not “in a phase of economic austerity; on the contrary, we are focusing our fiscal policy to favour the weakest and most vulnerable”.

To highlight this, he cited the social aid package announced by President Macri last weekend, which is set to benefit more than 10 million Argentines.

"The priority of this government is to create decent jobs. And from day one we explained that this would not be possible without engaging with the world”, he said.

"Along with my team at the Ministry, I have had 10 very busy days touring various major international cities, outlining the current situation in Argentina and explaining that a new phase is underway”, he added.

"And the finishing touch to the work we’ve been carrying out over the last four months is what we are going to announce this afternoon, and that you already know through some figures that we’ve published. There's a demand in excess of 60 billion dollars for the bond Argentina is offering”, he said.

“We have signed 220 agreements with the holdouts; such agreements have been multiplying exponentially since the New York Court of Appeals’ decision last week”, he added.

"We decided to start this road show in various international cities before receiving the Court of Appeals’ guarantee, because President Macri told us to not lose any time and move toward solving these issues”.

“We have held interviews with more than 340 investors in various cities, such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Washington and London”, he explained.

"We have also had very interesting meetings in international organisations, where we witnessed a great deal of enthusiasm for Argentina”, he said.

He also mentioned a meeting with World Bank officials who expressed their determination to support “this new phase in which Argentina is connecting with the world and with itself to solve its problems”.

“For us, this is the beginning; things don’t end here. The Ministry of Finance has been working over these past few months to sort out the mess handed down to us in order to ensure that Argentina can make a fresh start”, he said.