By Francisco Rodríguez of Bank of America Merrill Lynch

In a provocative article published last week by Project Syndicate (Should Venezuela Default?), Venezuelan economists Ricardo Hausmann and Miguel Angel Santos make an interesting argument. They contend that Venezuela cannot meet all of its foreign currency obligations and is already defaulting on some of them. If authorities adopted a set of common-sense policies, they argue, these would include defaulting on the country’s foreign debt and making bondholders bear part of the burden of adjustment.

Default is the economic equivalent of major invasive surgery: an aggressive intervention with high risks and side effects which is only justified when it is indispensable for restoring an economy to health. Default makes sense only when a country is insolvent. Continue reading »

Ignore Argentina’s spiralling debt vortex,global investors’ appetite for higher-risk assets remains hot. On Tuesday, another “debt defaulter”, Ecuador, finally took the plunge into the global credit market with the launch of a $2bn bond issue.

The 10-year dollar-sale is the first by the Andean nation since it defaulted voluntarily on $3.2bn worth of debt in 2008, when Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa bit the bullet, calling bondholders “real monsters.” It was was priced at a 7.95 per cent yield. Continue reading »

By Samuel George of the Bertelsmann Foundation

On February 18 the Republic of Argentina submitted a petition to the US Supreme Court requesting a judicial review of a 2012 decision from the New York Second Circuit Court. That ruling found illegal Argentine payments on restructured sovereign debt if the country did not also service investors who had not accepted the haircut on the non-performing bonds.

If the Second Circuit Court ruling stands, it will set a precedent that holdouts could eventually be paid in full. Bondholders may become increasingly reluctant to accept haircuts on sovereign securities, thus complicating the ability of a distressed country to restructure its debt. Continue reading »

Analysts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch think that China will experience its “Bear Stearns moment” on Friday, when the country will probably see as its first ever bond default.

That is a bold, attention-seeking call that is also patently ridiculous. Continue reading »

By Jason Bedford, independent consultant

Many of the risks surrounding China’s trust sector have been misunderstood and consequently overstated. The Rmb3bn ($495m) China Credit Trust (CCT) product that was rescued at the 11th hour late last month was far from typical of trust products in general – and neither was its potential default new news; it first defaulted in 2012.

Some market watchers saw the CCT scare as a “Lehman Brothers moment” for China that was narrowly averted, but could strike again in a different guise. They may be disappointed. Those trying to understand the risks from China’s shadow financing need to put the trust sector into a more sober context. Continue reading »

Calling all courageous bond-buyers out there! Ecuador says it is trying to re-enter the bond market, taking advantage of rising demand for emerging market debt.

Patricio Rivera, the minister for economic policy, told reporters on Wednesday the leftwing government might issue debt during the first half of this year. Continue reading »

By Arturo C. Porzecanski

Carlos Mauleon, the former Barclays Capital investment banker who handled Argentina’s 2005 debt restructuring, recently wrote a guest post on beyondbrics justifying that infamous transaction: “Whatever you may think of Argentina, … the one good decision its leaders made was to aggressively restructure [the public] debt back in 2005” because “the question is, did [Argentina] have a better choice? Not really.”

But it did. Here’s why. Continue reading »

By Samantha Pearson and Pan Kwan Yuk

It’s the end of an era for Brazil’s Eike Batista – the end of charming investors with dazzling oil forecasts, the end of being the poster boy for Brazil’s economic promise and perhaps even the end of parking his sports car in his living room.

Batista’s oil company OGX finally filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, triggering Latin America’s largest ever corporate default. Continue reading »

plane2012, as beyondbrics readers know, was a record year for emerging markets bonds. But it turns out it was also a record year for defaults.

According to a new report out from Standard & Poor’s, defaults among EM corporate issuers accounted for about 30 per cent of global corporate defaults by issuer count – the highest in the 16 years since the rating agency started keeping scores. Continue reading »

Things are going from bad to worse for Suntech Power, the Chinese solar panel maker.

The company, which has been fighting to stay afloat amid falling panel prices and slowing demand, became the latest company from mainland China to default on its international bonds. Continue reading »

James K GlassmanBy James K Glassman

As the global economy continues its sputtering recovery, policymakers have an opportunity to take a strong stand on principles that may help mitigate further long-term damage. In particular, as regards Argentina, a relatively small country with a potentially large impact on the international financial system.

For a decade, responsible nations have watched impassively as Argentina has refused to abide by court decisions and flouted global financial norms. Continue reading »

Gramercy, the $3.2bn emerging markets hedge fund, has joined a growing chorus of critics who think the current emerging markets debt boom could soon turn to bust.

And it is putting its money where its mouth is – with the launch of a distressed debt fund that has already attracted $200m in commitments. Continue reading »

Federico SturzeneggerBy Federico Sturzenegger of Banco Ciudad de Buenos Aires

Last week Judge Griesa ruled that Argentina should pay to a holdout fund by the name of NML before December 15 the full amount of debt owed by the country. The ruling followed a previous one, based on the pari passu clause, which said that Argentina should pay at least something to the holdouts. Continue reading »

There was a time, not long ago – until Wednesday night, to be exact – when investors would pay a premium on emerging market debt subject to New York law. Not any more.

Judge Thomas Griesa’s ruling that Argentina must pay $1.3bn to holdout creditors has all sorts of implications for sovereign borrowers and lenders. It has also, at a stroke, wiped out the New York law premium, as a chart from Vladimir Werning at JP Morgan illustrates. Continue reading »

Argentina’s reaction to Thomas Griesa’s New York court ruling was probably enough to make the octogenarian judge choke on his Thanksgiving turkey.

It was expected that Argentina would promise to fight – but what is surely guaranteed to make the judge’s blood boil was the offended tone Argentina struck. Continue reading »