BELIZE CITY, June 7 (Reuters) - Initial talks about restructuring Belize’s $550 million ‘super bond’ are going well and the country will finalize its budget plans in the next two weeks, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said on Thursday.
The small Central American nation of roughly 313,000 people hopes to restructure the bond before an interest payment of $23.5 million is due in August, after the interest rate stepped up to 8.5 percent this year.
The bond’s yield trades at 1,689 basis points over U.S. Treasuries, well above levels for nations such as Pakistan or Venezuela, according to Reuters data.
Barrow said the government’s debt restructuring team had met with officials from the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank and feedback had been positive.
“In the case of the IDB we’re also asking them to partially guarantee the restructured bonds and those conversations, as I understand it, went well, very well indeed,” he told reporters.
“It’s important to get the IDB and the IMF on board, number one, so that the figures we put out to the bondholders can be certified as being real and legitimate.”
Moody’s downgraded Belize’s sovereign foreign currency credit rating to C on June 1, pointing to falling oil-related revenues and rising liabilities following the nationalization of Belize Electricity and Belize Telecommunications.
Barrow said the budget, which will contain economic projections and details of the newly re-elected government’s planned spending, will be presented on Friday, June 22. (Reporting by Jose Sanchez, Writing by Krista Hughes; Editing by Eric Walsh)