Argentina
Nobel Prize winning economists Stiglitz, Phelps endorsed Argentina's debt repayment proposal
An open letter signed by world's leading economists gave support to President Alberto Fernandez's proposal for bondholders.

Finance Minister Alberto Guzman's mentor and Nobel Laureate in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, headed the list of signatories of an open letter addressed to Argentina's creditors. In it, more than a hundred economists from the world's most prestigious universities urged them to accept the country's debt restructuring proposal.

The letter is also signed by another Nobel Prize winner, Edmund Phelps, and other respected economists such as Jeffry Sachs, Dani Rodrik and France's Thomas Piketty. In their view, the interest rates offered by the country "are reasonable within the current interest rate environment". Guzman's proposal is to reduce the average interest rate from 7% to 2.3%.

"[It is] Impeccable this document. I fully subscribe. The average annual coupon (simple) of the offer is even higher: 3.4% per year. Six times more than the rate in the U.S., which is what those who won lawsuits against Argentina in the past decade had to accept," tweeted former Finance Minister of Argentina Alfonso Prat Gay, showing his support for the Fernandez administration's proposal to the creditors.

Martín Guzmán with his professor Joseph Stiglitz at the University of Rome.

Claudio Cesario of the Argentine Banks Association also made public on Wednesday his request for a good faith understanding between the government and the creditors, but avoided taking a position on Guzmán's side.

Another of the signatories, Professor Carmen Reinhart, who travelled at least three times to Argentina during the Macri administration to warn, along with Professor Guillermo Calvo, that the debt cycle was ending in an explosion. She, in fact, warned last week that in terms of debt sustainability, Guzmán might even have come up short with the lowering of the interest rate.

The text emphasizes one of the global community's buzzwords that Martin Guzman imposed on the national discourse: sustainability, a concern born from ecology, passed to business administration and the economy, and now has an impact on finance.

That is why the letter points out that "This moment is the ultimate test for the international financial architecture. Sustainability' is a term that now appears everywhere in global finance and investment, and for good reason. The principles of sustainability - as in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals - call for building a better world. And those principles are profoundly relevant when it comes to the sovereign debt of struggling developing nations."

Argentina's country risk plummets 14% in the face of an agreement with bondholders

The text also reminds the bondholders that the IMF and the World Bank have already called for debt forgiveness for the poorest nations on the planet and highlights the country's attitude of explaining in good faith and openly the reality it is going through and the difficulties it faces in meeting its debts. It reminds the bondholders that they made a bet in 2016 that it was only repayable if the country entered a cycle of rapid growth and that this did not happen, so the debt became "unsustainable" and "unpayable" even before the Coronavirus.

"At this exceptional moment in world history, Argentina's offer also presents an opportunity for the international financial community to show that debt crises can be resolved in an orderly, efficient and sustainable manner. The absence of an international legal framework for debt restructuring should not deprive debtor countries of the possibility of protecting their people and providing them with an economic recovery during the greatest global crisis ever".

"We believe that this is a sustainable agreement that benefits both parties: a sovereign nation in distress with 45 million people and the creditors themselves. Now is the time for the creditors to act in good faith. A responsible resolution will set a positive precedent not only for Argentina, but for the entire international financial system," the letter concludes. 

Argentina Open Letter With ... by La Politica Online on Scribd

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