January 17, 2020 / 4:51 PM / a month ago

Argentina's Chubut province seeks to delay payments on debt: media

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The government of Argentina’s Chubut province will seek to delay payments on debt after Buenos Aires province, Argentina’s largest, also asked its creditors for extensions as the country grapples with a debt crisis, local media reported on Friday.

The provincial government of Chubut, located in the Patagonian region, plans to submit a restructuring proposal to its local legislature that aims to defer debt payments over the next four years and reduce the size of the district’s public administration, the reports said.

Chubut’s total public debt amounts to about $855 million, 85% of which is denominated in U.S. dollars and backed by oil royalties, Chubut Economy Minister Oscar Antonena told state news agency Telam.

The debt deferment plan addresses an “acute situation in finance that forces us to propose a restructuring,” he said.

Details of the debt restructuring proposal were not immediately available, and Antonena could not be reached for immediate comment.

Argentina has been spiraling into a debt crisis since 2018. The administration of President Alberto Fernandez, who took office on Dec. 10, is in talks with bondholders and other creditors, including the International Monetary Fund, to renegotiate about $100 billion in sovereign debt.

The province of Buenos Aires has asked for an extension on a more than $250 million debt payment due later this month.

(This story is refiled to correct typographical error in story tag for some media subscribers)

Reporting by Walter Bianchi; writing by Cassandra Garrison

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