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Grenada defaults on US-dollar bond
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada—The Government of Grenada has described the decision by Standard and Poor’s to lower foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on Grenada to ‘SD’ from ‘B-/B’ as premature.
“Government considers the action by Standard & Poor’s as premature considering the terms of the agreement for the 2025 notes which provide a grace period of thirty (30) days after the due date and the notice duly issued by Government to note-holders before the due date. This 30-day grace period has not yet expired.”
The 30-day grace period for Grenada expires on Monday. In a release on Tuesday, the Tillman Thomas-led administration sought to assure investors that it will continue to meet its obligations “as and when they fall due on the Regional Government Securities Market (RGSM).”
“The Government fully understands the importance of the RGSM for Grenada and other member Governments of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and is deeply committed to the RGSM,” said the Finance Ministry. In 2005, following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Ivan and Emily, Grenada undertook debt restructuring of its long-term liabilities, however, Grenada’s treasury bills on the RGSM were unaffected.
On Monday, Standard and Poor’s said that it was lowering the local currency sovereign credit ratings to selective default because of the severe liquidity constraints facing the country. “The outlook on the long-term local currency rating is negative, reflecting downside risks to the ratings if liquidity pressures were to intensify,” said the International rating agency.
“The downgrade to ‘SD’ follows the government’s failure to pay the coupon due September 15, on its US$193 million bond due in 2025. In its September 12 statement to bondholders, the government of Grenada stated its intention to use its best efforts to pay the coupon within a 30-day grace period,” the agency noted.
S&P said: “However, according to our criteria, we consider an obligation in default unless payment is made within five business days of the due date, regardless of any grace period.” According to the S&P statement: “Liquidity pressures are reflected in the government’s recent wage arrears as well as the missed debt service payments to official bilateral creditors and the default on the foreign currency bond.
The government’s difficulty in servicing its US-dollar debt and paying public-sector wages may presage servicing risks to its Eastern Caribbean dollar-denominated bond, as well as its Eastern Caribbean dollar-denominated treasury bills.”
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