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.
Wasn’t it the case, about five years ago, that Ecuador’s foreign debt was “illegitimate” and its bondholders “real monsters”?
Well, it seems time cures everything. Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s leftwing president, said at the weekend his country was planning its first international bond issue since defaulting on $3.2bn of foreign debt in 2008 – and, six months later, buying most of it back at 35 cents on the dollar.
Ecuador is on the brink of its biggest budget deficit on record. So there is talk of the Andean country biting the bullet and tapping the international debt markets for the first time since defaulting over four years ago.
Rafael Correa, the leftwing president seeking his second re-election next month, has been driving growth thanks to tax collection and public spending as the price of oil, which is Ecuador’s main source of revenue, has been losing steam. Could it happen?
The ballyhoo over a New York court ruling ordering Argentina to pay $1.3bn to holdout creditors, has raised questions over whether Ecuador could also be dragged to court by so-called vulture funds.
Unfortunately for some bondholders, but luckily for Ecuador’s government, it seems very unlikely, at least according to some commentators consulted by beyondbrics.