Argentina to pay its Boden 2015 bonds earlier

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina’s government said on Thursday it will pay its 2015 Boden bonds before the deadline to curb market speculation that the country won’t be able to service its debt next year.

The notes pay some $6.7 billion including capital and interest and were originally due in October 2015. But Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said the payment will take place between Dec. 10 and Dec. 12. The government will offer cash or a swap for a bond due in 2024. Holders of the local-law bond can also choose to wait until the maturity date before getting payment.

“Argentina pays and has the resources,” Kicillof told reporters. “The objective of this measure is to cut with all speculation and continue our road toward debt relief, and to give complete certainty to investors who hold Argetine bonds.”

Argentina has been involved in a long legal battle with U.S. creditors over bonds left over from the country’s record $100 billion default in 2001.

Argentina defaulted in July for the second time in 13 years after a U.S. judge ruled in favour of holdout creditors who are demanding some $15 billion in unpaid debts and who have spent more than a decade litigating for payment in full rather than agreeing to provide Argentina with debt relief.

President Cristina Fernandez’s government often derides the creditors as “vultures” for picking on the carcass of the country’s debt and rejecting Argentina’s restructuring offers in 2005 and 2010.

Argentina has been kept from global credit markets since defaulting on its debt during its 2001-2002 financial crisis. Officials have been trying to keep dollars in the country for the Central Bank to use to pay off government debts, but the bank’s reserves have continued to plunge.