| BELIZE CITY
BELIZE CITY Oct 2 Belize hopes to strike a deal
with creditors to restructure its $550 million 'superbond'
within a month, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said on Tuesday.
The tiny Central American country missed a $23.5 million
interest payment on the sovereign bond in August and made a
partial payment of $11.7 million on Sept. 20 when a 30-day grace
Creditors agreed in September to grant the country a second
60-day grace period as a sign of good faith as talks continue.
"We actually hope we can reach a point with the bondholders
where we can launch the debt exchange offer by the end of
October ... not later than very early in November," Barrow told
Reuters. "I don't see any difficulty we would have in meeting
After the interest rate on the superbond rose to 8.5 percent
this year from 6 percent, Belize said it could not afford to
service its debt. The country is reliant on tourism, fishing and
farming and cited increased fiscal liabilities from declining
oil revenues and recently nationalized utility companies.
The Belize government has laid out three proposals for
rescheduling its bond payments, shocking analysts with its
suggestion that they take a haircut of up to 45 percent on their
The country of roughly 350,000 has asked the Inter-American
Development Bank for a partial guarantee on its debt and Barrow
ruled out any possibility of a bailout from the International
"It is well known that we have asked for a partial guarantee
(from the IDB)," Barrow said. "There is no question whatsoever
of Belize needing or asking for IMF assistance."