January 31, 2020 / 9:35 PM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-Argentina plans new debt swap auction to push maturities

(Adds details, context)

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Argentina’s economy ministry said in a statement on Friday it was planning a new debt swap auction on Feb. 3 to exchange a bond maturing that month for others with later payment schedules in 2021 to help ease a wider debt crunch.

The government said holders of a dual currency 2020 bond were invited to bid to swap for four new instruments. The 2020 bond matures on Feb. 13 and has outstanding payments due of $1.6 billion, Refinitv Eikon data show.

Argentina is struggling to make its debt payments sustainable amid a stubbornly weak economy, high inflation, and after a sharp market crash last year battered the peso. It carried out an earlier swap on Jan. 20, helping delay payments.

The bondholders will be able to bid on four new instruments, all maturing on Aug. 5, 2021. They include three Treasury bonds denominated in pesos and a fourth in U.S. dollars.

The ministry said the debt swap would help “improve the maturity profile of the instruments in pesos.”

Argentina’s new Peronist government faces tough debt restructuring negotiations with international holders of its debt, including the International Monetary Fund. Local peso debt has so far proven easier to reprofile. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; writing by Adam Jourdan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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