Public debt climbed to 91% of GDP the highest level in 15 years

Argentina national gross public debt in December amounted to 91% of the Gross Domestic Product, the highest level of the last 15 years (since 118.1% of 2004), according to the Central Bank Monetary Policy Report. The national public debt stock at the end of December rose to $323.2 billion, of which 60% was concentrated in public securities, 25% in loans and 10% in short-term instruments, the report said.

Private banks down loan rate to SMEs from 40% to 35%

Private banks in Argentina will begin to apply from today a reduction from 40% to 35% on their credit rates for micro, small and medium enterprises. The change occurs after the Central Bank (BCRA) imposed 35% as a new credit ceiling that must be approved by banks that want to access the discount of up to two points in their reserve requirements. Public lenders such as Banco Nación already offer a subsidised rate of 27.9%.

Fernández boosts social security pensions for low income people

Argentina president Alberto Fernández announced a 13% increase in pensions for low-income people (below AR$20,000) and two other allowances for families and children that will go into effect next month. Higher pension bands will increase between 9.8% and 3.8%. A new program that will make free 170 medications for pensioners will also be launched.

BlackRock, Fidelity form bondholder group ahead of talks

Money managers including BlackRock Inc. and Fidelity Investments launched a committee with White & Case LLP as legal adviser focused on Argentina's sovereign debt. This can become one of the most powerful creditor groups since BlackRock and Fidelity both rank among the six biggest reported holders of the country’s sovereign notes.

Hedge funds lead by Monarch join forces for Argentina debt negotiations

Monarch Alternative Capital LP is spearheading a group of about 20 hedge funds advised by Dennis Hranitzky at law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which is getting organised ahead of debt restructuring talks with Argentina. The group is focused on notes that were part of the nation’s 2005 and 2010 debt exchanges which give a relatively small number of investors the power to veto any accord they didn’t like.