February 3, 2020 / 7:49 PM / 13 days ago

Argentina extends deadline for debt swap auction to Tuesday: statement

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina extended until Tuesday its deadline for a debt swap auction to exchange a bond maturing this month for others with later payment schedules in 2021, the Economy Ministry said on Monday, as the government seeks to ease its debt burden.

The deadline of the auction, extended to Tuesday at 1 p.m. local time from Monday at 3 p.m. local time, invites holders of a dual currency 2020 bond ARAF20= maturing on Feb. 13 to swap for four new instruments. The 2020 bond has outstanding payments of $1.6 billion due, Refinitiv Eikon data shows.

The extension was due to the “high participation of foreign holders of the instrument to be exchanged,” and the need to rectify operational problems, the ministry’s statement said.

The government announced on Jan. 31 that it would launch the auction in a bid to help ease a wider credit crunch. Argentina is grappling with the renegotiation of $100 billion in sovereign debt amid an ongoing economic crisis.

The 2020 bond ARAF20= was down around 6 cents on the dollar on Monday afternoon, according to Refinitiv data.

The four new instruments for which debt holders can swap, all maturing on Aug. 5, 2021, include three Treasury bonds denominated in pesos and a fourth in U.S. dollars.

Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; writing by Cassandra Garrison; editing by Diane CraftEditing by Dan Grebler and Diane Craft

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