Argentine Economy Minister Martín Guzmán arrived in New York to hold a series of meetings aimed at accelerating the renegotiation of external debt. His agenda for this week includes a presentation to the Council of Americas, and meetings with US Treasury officials, and with representatives of the International Monetary Fund.
Veteran restructuring lawyer Dennis Hranitzky is building up an Argentina bondholder group of about 20 funds focused on 2005 and 2010 debt exchanges notes. Hranitzky, who helped hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer win a 15-year bond battle against Argentina, joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan last week. Argentina’s gross debt load stands at $332 billion, including loans from the IMF.
Argentina Mining Secretary, Alberto Hensel, said that his country is the first world destination for lithium exploration. During a conference on the Lithium Triangle Initiative at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), he stressed that the sector has two mines in production and in the process of expansion (Olaroz and Fénix), two mines under construction (Caucharí and Centenario Ratones), another 10 in economic evaluation and six in advanced exploration stage.
Argentine government ratified that it will use the loans for $6 billion approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and CAF, for infrastructure works and development programs. President Alberto Fernández will accept these loans approved during the government of Mauricio Macri “for their low cost of financing comparing to what the country could get in the markets,” official sources explained.
The president of the state oil company YPF, Guillermo Nielsen, raised the possibility of connecting Argentina’s gas pipeline network with that of southern Brazil, during the World Economic Forum in Davos. The project “would help Argentina deal with a debt that is the largest of the last 30 years,” he said. Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes welcomed the suggestion by saying that “we are going to try to connect with Vaca Muerta”.
President Alberto Fernández travels to Israel on his first official visit as head of state to participate this week in the International Leaders Forum in Commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Fight against Anti-Semitism. About 40 world leaders and the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, will attend this meeting. Governor of Buenos Aires province Axel Kicillof is also part of the Argentine delegation.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in Davos the lender has had “very constructive” exchanges with Argentina’s new government and would do whatever possible to assist the indebted country. Argentina owes the IMF around around $44 billion and the severe economic crisis since last year has forced it to enter negotiations with creditors to restructure around $100 billion of sovereign debt.
Argentina estimates that its fresh lemon exports to the United States could triple in two years to 30,000 tons in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Lemon exports from Argentina to the U.S. were 10,640 in 2018 and 23,179 tons from January to October 2019.
With a rate of 53.8%, Argentina became the third country in the world with the highest inflation in 2019, after Venezuela and Zimbabwe, according to the latest report of the International Monetary Fund. Its performance contrasts with the one-digit increase in retail prices in the rest of South America and with the situation of the top 20 countries on the list.
The United States will present today in Paris its support for Brazil to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), relegating a position that Argentina expected, Washington sources confirmed to the newspaper La Nación. In October, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had sent a letter to the OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurria, in which he suggested Argentina and Romania as candidates.