(The Southern African Times) – Zambia is doing everything possible to avoid a sovereign debt default later this week, including sharing information on its Chinese debt with holders of its dollar-denominated bonds, its finance minister told Reuters on Monday.
Sources close to the main committee of bondholders, however, said little progress had been made in debt talks.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic caused a global economic slowdown, Zambia was struggling with mounting debt due to low prices for copper, its main export.
It has three outstanding dollar-denominated Eurobonds with a total face value of $3 billion.
It missed payment of a $42.5 million coupon on one of its Eurobonds last month and has asked creditors to delay interest payments until April, a request that has so far failed to receive support from bondholders.
A 30-day “grace period” on the coupon payment expires on Friday.
“We’ll wait and see. We’re doing everything possible,” Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu told SAT by ‘phone. “The discussions (with bondholders) are on a continuous basis.”
When asked whether Zambia had the resources to pay the coupon within the grace period, he said his country had committed to treating all its creditors the same.