Exclusive: Zambia will not pay Eurobond coupon before grace period expires - Finance Minister

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia will not pay an overdue Eurobond coupon before a 30-day grace period expires, the finance minister told Reuters, setting the southern African copper producer on course to become the continent’s first pandemic-era sovereign default.

Bondholders had earlier in the day rejected Zambia’s request to defer interest payments until April.

“They will not support the standstill or consent solicitation and, given our precarious position that requires us to treat all creditors equally, we have no other alternative but to accumulate arrears,” Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu said.

Reporting by Chris Mfula, writing by Joe Bavier, editing by Karin Strohecker