BUENOS AIRES Oct 30 Argentina's economy
minister blasted a U.S. court ruling that would force the
country to repay creditors who have sued to collect on defaulted
Argentine bonds, saying the country will never pay the "vulture
The South American country staged the world's biggest
sovereign debt default in 2002 during a deep economic crisis. It
has restructured about 93 percent of the roughly $100 billion in
default through debt swaps launched in 2005 and 2010.
But "holdout" creditors who rejected the swaps continue to
press in courts worldwide for full repayment on the bonds.
On Friday, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that
Argentina violated bond provisions to treat all creditors
equally when it made payments to creditors who accepted the
swaps while refusing to pay the holdouts.
"We are never going to pay the vulture funds. Anyone who
thinks otherwise hasn't understood a thing," Economy Minister
Hernan Lorenzino said via Twitter late on Monday.
"We're going to continue paying the 93 percent of creditors
who entered the swap, in dollars, euros and yen ... we will not
be pushed into the trap of default," he tweeted.
Argentina refers to investment funds that buy distressed or
defaulted debt and then litigate to be repaid in full as vulture
The court ruling has sent Argentine bond prices reeling,
widened the country's risk spread as measured by JPMorgan's
EMBI+ bond index and sent the price of protection
against an Argentine default to a nearly four-year high.
Fitch put Argentina's foreign currency ratings on watch
negative on Tuesday, saying the ruling "increased uncertainty
about Argentina's ability to service its international
securities issued under New York law on a timely basis using the
U.S. financial system."
Finance Secretary Adrian Cosentino told Reuters the
government will take all legal steps necessary to fight the
appeals court ruling, which aims to force the country into
paying holdout creditors - led in this case by NML Capital Ltd
and the Aurelius Capital Management funds - every time it makes
payments to the creditors who hold restructured bonds.
"We will do whatever's necessary to continue honoring our
debts, as we have done since 2003," Lorenzino tweeted.
"Argentina's capacity and willingness to pay has been
demonstrated time and time again. They can't change this with