Argentina government talks peso debt risk with banks as repayments loom

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s Economy Minister Luis Caputo discussed with representatives of banks the country’s economic program, including liability management, but no official debt swap proposals have been made, a ministry source told Reuters on Friday.

A second banking source with knowledge of the Thursday evening meeting said the government spoke “of its intention” of swapping local debt maturing in 2024 for notes maturing in 2025 and through 2027, in a peso amount that could reach the equivalent of $71 billion. The source said no specific amounts were discussed for the debt management.

“There wasn’t and isn’t a concrete proposal. The economic program was presented and there was an exchange of ideas regarding liability management,” the ministry source said.

Earlier on Friday, Bloomberg News reported on the debt swap, saying the government could issue new peso bonds in February to swap for the 2024 maturities.

A third banking source said the recently appointed Argentine government has been exploring several options to clear their short-term external liabilities. “It is part of the economic adjustment along with negotiations with the IMF and passage of important reforms,” the source said.

Argentina and the International Monetary Fund were due to begin meetings on Friday to discuss a delayed review of their $44 billion program.

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires and Rodrigo Campos in New York; additional reporting by Devika Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)