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Government Seeks Audience with US Bondholders

Tonight, the Government of Belize is using the recent report from the International Monetary Fund to substantiate the economic trying times that Belize is currently in as they announce their intention of meeting with the country’s US bondholders.  In a release issued by the Government of Belize, officials intend to, quote, “meet with individual bondholders or a committee representing the bondholders (if the bondholders elect to form such a committee) before the end of November to discuss measures necessary to place the 2038 Bonds on a fully sustainable basis. The Government of Belize has retained Citigroup Global Markets Inc. as its structuring advisor and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP as its legal counsel in this process.”  End of quote.  According to Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight, any amendments to be made to the terms of the instruments with the approval of the bondholders will need to be implemented before the officials submit their 2017 fiscal year budget to the Belize Parliament.  With the need for the budget to be submitted to parliament for consideration early next year there is the need to expedite the process.  The economic challenges cited in the release includes low growth, rising fiscal deficits, a deteriorating balance of payments position, and declining sovereign debt indicators; challenges that have been exacerbated by slow global growth, U.S. dollar strength, Hurricane Earl, a substantial decline in key commodity production and prices, and the higher than anticipated arbitration awards.  The release continued by stating, quote, “Belize’s 2038 Bonds were issued in 2013 and are the only Government debt securities outstanding in the international capital markets. For a variety of reasons, Belize’s economy has significantly underperformed in comparison with the projections used at the time in setting the terms of the 2038 Bonds.”  End of quote.