Progress Report on Crisis Resolution

Describes progress in the inclusion of CACs in international sovereign bonds. Provides an update of efforts to broaden the consensus on the Principles. Reports on developments in recent sovereign debt restructuring cases. Discusses progress in the Evian Approach and other Paris Club issues. Provides a summary of the aforementioned paper on the determinants and prospects for regaining market access.

Abstract

Describes progress in the inclusion of CACs in international sovereign bonds. Provides an update of efforts to broaden the consensus on the Principles. Reports on developments in recent sovereign debt restructuring cases. Discusses progress in the Evian Approach and other Paris Club issues. Provides a summary of the aforementioned paper on the determinants and prospects for regaining market access.

I. Introduction

1. In its recent Communiqué, the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) considered progress on crisis resolution initiatives.1 It welcomed the increased inclusion of collective action clauses (CACs) in international sovereign bonds, and called on the Fund to continue to promote progress in this area. It also noted the "Principles for Stable Capital Flows and Fair Debt Restructuring in Emerging Markets" (henceforth, the “Principles”) developed by a number of sovereign issuers and the investor community, and encouraged further efforts to improve the Principles aimed at achieving a broad consensus. The IMFC looked forward to further work on the orderly resolution of financial crises, including the implementation of the Fund’s lending into arrears (LIA) policy.

2. A number of countries have continued the process of restructuring their sovereign debt and several have secured agreements with their private creditors. This has occurred, in some cases, as part of a comprehensive debt restructuring strategy following earlier agreements with the Paris Club to reschedule official debt. In a separate development, a number of countries have prepaid portions of their Paris Club debt under the Club’s new framework for early repayments.

3. The Executive Board considered a staff paper on issues related to the orderly resolution of financial crises. The paper assessed the determinants and prospects for the pace of market access by countries emerging from crisis.2

4. This report focuses on these crisis resolution issues. Section II describes progress in the inclusion of CACs in international sovereign bonds. Section III provides an update of efforts to broaden the consensus on the Principles. Section IV reports on developments in recent sovereign debt restructuring cases. Section V discusses progress in the Evian Approach and other Paris Club issues. Section VI provides a summary of the aforementioned paper on the determinants and prospects for regaining market access.

II. Collective Action Clauses

5. Since the last progress report in March 2005, with one exception, all newly issued international sovereign bonds have included CACs that are broadly in line with the G-10 recommendations.3 As to New York law-governed issues, this reflects the newly established market practice of including CACs in bonds in that jurisdiction.4 The only country that did not include CACs in its New York law-governed bond was Jamaica. International sovereign bonds governed by English and Japanese laws have continued the existing practice of including such provisions (Appendix, Table 1).5 There were no issues under German law.6 To date, the inclusion of CACs has not had any observable impact on bond pricing (Appendix, Figure 1).

Table 1.

Emerging Markets Sovereign Bond Issuance by Jurisdiction 1/

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Source: Dealogic.

English and Japanese laws, and New York law where relevant.

German and New York laws (includes reopenings of previously issued bonds without CACs).

Includes bonds issued by Uruguay in the debt exchange.

Includes bonds issued by Argentina and The Dominican Republic in their respective debt exchanges.

Data as of June 30, 2005.

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Yields on Selected Recent Issues of U.S. Dollar Bonds with Collective Action Clauses 1/

Citation: Policy Papers 2005, 071; 10.5089/9781498331029.007.A001

Sources: Capital Data and Merrill Lynch.1/ As of date of issuance.

6. As a result, the outstanding stock of emerging market sovereign bonds that include CACs has increased from approximately 31 percent at end-2002, in value terms, to approximately 53 percent as of end-June 2005(Appendix, Table 2 and Figure 2). Importantly, recent sovereign debt exchanges have replaced a large volume of bonds that did not include CACs with bonds that included these clauses. Correspondingly, this increase reflected a rather even pattern of growth of bonds with CACs across regions (Appendix, Table 3).

Table 2.

Emerging Market Sovereign Bonds Outstanding Issuance by Governing Law

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Sources: Dealogic; Bloomberg; and IMF staff calculations (as of June 30, 2005).
Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Emerging Market Outstanding Sovereign Issuance by Governing Law

Citation: Policy Papers 2005, 071; 10.5089/9781498331029.007.A001

Source: Dealogic; Bloomberg and Fund staff calculations.
Table 3.

Emerging Markets Sovereign Bonds—Outstanding Issuances by Region and Governing Law, 2002 and 2005 1/

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Sources: Dealogic; Bloomberg; and Fund staff calculations.

End of period, data for 2005 are for July.

7. Staff has continued to take a proactive role in promoting the inclusion of CACs in international sovereign bonds. In particular, staff continues to maintain an active dialogue with private market participants and debt managers from a number of emerging market countries, including through the Forum for Public Debt Managers, and to encourage the use of CACs both in the context of the use of Fund resources and the Fund’s surveillance activities.

III. Principles for Stable Capital Flows and Fair Debt Restructuring in Emerging Markets7

8. Efforts have been made by the Institute of International Finance (IIF) to broaden the consensus on the Principles among emerging market issuers and private sector creditors. Staff from the IIF has conducted briefings in major financial centers aimed at advancing awareness and developing a better understanding of the Principles. The IIF reports that about 30 countries have expressed support for the Principles. In addition, senior private sector leaders are exchanging views on how best to effectively integrate the Principles within firms' day-to-day practices.

9. Discussions among emerging market issuers and private sector creditors on a process for implementing the Principles are unfolding. The IIF has proposed a three-tier process for monitoring implementation of the Principles, which remains the subject of discussion among stakeholders, including emerging market issuers and private sector participants. Fund staff has not been involved in these discussions.

  • The implementation process envisaged by the IIF would have four main functions: (i) to identify circumstances where early course correction in specific cases could prevent crises from unfolding; (ii) to offer guidance for the restructuring process in cases where debt restructuring is needed; (iii) to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the Principles, including whether the right balance has been achieved between providing sufficient guidance and allowing flexibility; and (iv) to ensure the continued relevance of the Principles in light of changing characteristics of international capital and credit markets.

  • The three tiers suggested by the IIF include:

    • Technical Work (Tier One). An analysis of the Principles’ implementation by key emerging market issuers and creditors would be undertaken, based on the IIF’s ongoing work on emerging market countries. This is envisaged to involve close consultation with the marketplace and, in selected circumstances, country authorities. Trends in international capital markets as they pertain to the Principles will also be examined.

    • Principles Consultative Group (PCG) (Tier Two). Based on the technical work undertaken in Tier 1, the PCG—comprised of emerging market officials and market participants—would consider specific country circumstances with a view to providing suggestions to authorities and creditors on how better to align their policies and/or actions with the expectations set out in the Principles. The PCG would also review general market trends to help advise the Trustees (see below) whether the Principles remain relevant or require amendment. All parties involved in the discussions would adhere to a code of conduct to ensure confidentiality.

    • Group of Trustees (Tier Three). The Group of Trustees—comprising senior officials and senior representatives of the financial industry—would provide overall guidance on the implementation of the Principles, with the aim of ensuring the legitimacy and objectivity of the review process. The Trustee Group’s role would include reviewing development of the Principles, including their implementation, and modifying the Principles, if needed. It is anticipated that the Trustees would not be involved in specific cases except in exceptional circumstances. Individual countries or market participants could consider seeking the guidance of the Trustees individually or as a group on a confidential basis.

10. Staff will continue to monitor developments in broadening the consensus on the Principles and in their implementation, and will report on these issues as more concrete details emerge.

IV. Update of Recent Debt Restructuring Cases

11. Since March 2005, progress has continued in a number of sovereign debt restructuring cases. More generally, countries seeking debt restructurings have also put in place supporting macroeconomic and structural reform policies. This section provides an update of these cases (see Appendix, Table 5 for selected debt indicators for these countries).

Table 5.

Selected Countries: Debt Indicators, 1999-2004 1/

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For Antigua and Barbuda, central government only; for Argentina and Serbia and Montenegro, consolidated government; for Belize and Dominica, nonfinancial public sector; for Dominican Republic nonfinancial public sector and central bank; for Grenada, general government.

Data presented on a fiscal year (July-June) basis; figures shown for a given calendar year relate to the fiscal year beginning on July 1 of the previous year.

Covers gross external debt and net domestic debt.

On cash basis.

Sources: WEO, IMF country staff reports.

Argentina

12. Argentina concluded its global debt exchange on June 10, 2005, after some delays related to court proceedings in New York. Settlement of the debt exchange, initially scheduled for April 1, was delayed due to attempts by some nonparticipating creditors to attach bonds tendered in the exchange. However, following the appeals court’s affirmation of the lower court’s decision to vacate the initial attachment orders, settlement of the debt exchange was finally initiated on June 2, and completed on June 10.8

13. In settling the debt exchange, the authorities issued US$35.2 billion in new bonds, comprising US$15 billion of par bonds, US$11.9 billion of discount bonds and US$8.3 billion of quasi par bonds. Upon settlement, eleven new bonds were issued—the par and discount bonds are denominated in pesos, U.S. dollars (under both Argentine and New York laws), euros, and yen, and the quasi par bonds are denominated only in pesos (Appendix, Table 6). Each new bond has GDP-linked securities attached to it that will be eligible to trade independently after November 29, 2005.9 The new bonds, other than those governed by Argentine law, were issued under a trust structure and include CACs with an aggregate voting feature. Two of the three major credit rating agencies raised Argentina’s long-term foreign currency issuer rating to the lowest “B” category in June, and applied this rating to the newly issued bonds. On June 30, JP Morgan rebalanced its family of EMBI indices to include the new U.S. dollar par and discount bonds (governed by New York law) while dropping all of the defaulted bonds from the indices. As a result of the rebalancing, spreads on Argentina’s external debt fell immediately from over 6000 basis points to 462 basis points.

Table 6.

Argentina: New Bonds Issued, by Currency and Governing Law

(In billions of US dollars, unless otherwise indicated)

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14. Argentina’s debt exchange constitutes an important step toward normalizing relations with creditors, and has facilitated domestic market reaccess. With 76 percent participation in the exchange, Argentina’s debt structure and debt-service profile have improved significantly.10 In early May, the authorities regained domestic market access for the first time since mid-2001 with the issuance of a AR$1 billion (about US$347 million) peso-denominated inflation-indexed bond maturing in 2014. This was followed by two other domestic market placements of AR$1 billion each of the same bond in early July, and two domestic issuances of a dollar-denominated bond maturing in 2012 in late July (US$442 million) and early August (US$350 million).11 Demand for the domestic issues was supported by abundant liquidity in local and international markets, and regulatory changes allowing both local banks and pension funds to increase their exposure to government securities.

15. Notwithstanding the debt restructuring, there are still unresolved principal claims amounting to almost US$20 billion. The April 2005 IMFC Communiqué called on Argentina to formulate a forward-looking strategy to resolve the remaining arrears to private creditors consistent with the Fund’s LIA policy.

The Dominican Republic

16. The Dominican Republic embarked on an economic adjustment program supported by a Stand-By Arrangement in early 2005. The financing strategy of the program aimed at eliminating the residual financing needs during 2005–06 through a debt exchange offer encompassing non-Brady foreign-currency denominated bonds, a rescheduling of external private banks loans and suppliers’ credits, credit from Venezuela to finance oil imports, and support from the IDB and the World Bank. The successful completion of the private debt restructurings was also a means to fulfill the Dominican Republic’s commitment to seek comparable treatment from private creditors as called for in its April 2004 agreement with the Paris Club. The Dominican Republic launched its debt exchange offer on April 20, 2005, stipulating that two bonds were eligible for the exchange (see Box 1 for a summary of the key terms of the offer).12

Dominican Republic: Financial Terms and Legal Features of the Debt Exchange

Financial terms

  • The offer involved a five-year maturity extension, where the Global bond due in 2006 could be exchanged for a new Global bond due in 2011, and the Global bond due in 2013 could be exchanged for a new Global bond due in 2018.

  • The new bonds included an amortizing structure with ten equal semi-annual principal installments beginning in 2007 and 2013 for the Global bond 2011 and Global bond 2018, respectively (the existing bonds were bullet-style bonds).

  • No principal or interest haircut was involved; but remaining interest payments in 2005, and half of interest payments due in 2006, were capitalized.

Legal features

  • To reduce the incentives for non-participation, the offer utilized exit consents to amend the old bonds to limit the ability of holders of these bonds to attach payments on the new bonds and to eliminate the cross- default and cross-acceleration clauses and the negative pledge covenant.

  • The new bonds include CACs with an aggregate voting feature and are issued under a trust indenture (the old bonds had a fiscal agency structure) which would make future litigation by bondholders more difficult.

  • To encourage participation, the Dominican Republic set a nonbinding minimum participation threshold of 85 percent (which could be waived at the sole discretion of the Dominican Republic).

17. The Dominican Republic maintained a market-friendly approach to the debt restructuring. The authorities sought to involve bondholders through an informal consultation process on the terms of the exchange offer. They held road shows in New York and London in late 2004, while conducting meetings with key investors at the same time and immediately prior to the launch. In this context, market participants considered as the main incentive to participate in the offer the potential upside on the new bonds resulting from the improvement in the country’s capacity to pay and the reduction in the rollover risk. They also viewed favorably the minimal initial net present value (NPV) losses, amounting to only one percent when discounted at the implicit exit yield of 10 percent, that would result from accepting the offer.

18. The debt exchange was completed on May 11, 2005, with high participation. The tendering principal reached US$1.03 billion, representing nearly 94 percent of eligible bonds, and exceeding the minimum participation threshold of 85 percent. The offer was reopened in July with a view to achieving further cash-flow relief. An additional US$36.5 million of principal was tendered, representing 52 percent of the bonds that had not entered the original exchange, and as a result, the overall participation rate increased to 97 percent. The offer provided significant cash-flow relief of US$576 million for the government during 2005–06, and resulted in an increase in the maturity profile of the debt by five years. Spreads on the new bonds have declined by over 130 basis points since mid-May, clearly outperforming the overall market.

19. In June, the Dominican Republic also reached an agreement with commercial banks to reschedule about US$200 million in principal falling due in 2005–06. The agreement established (i) a two-year grace period and a three-year repayment period; (ii) a reduction in the average interest rate of the restructured loans of around 2 percentage points; and (iii) the repayment of about US$35 million in arrears accumulated through end-2004.

20. In August, an agreement was reached for the government to buy back the debt owed by the nationalized electricity distribution companies to Union Fenosa, a foreign electricity and gas company. The authorities have not yet executed the buyback.

Antigua and Barbuda

21. After taking office in March 2004, the newly elected government initiated a dialogue with several key creditors with a view to regularizing creditor relations—most loans have been in arrears for many years. A major step included an agreement with the Italian government to clear US$196 million debt (one-third of external debt) through a bullet payment of US$18.5 million, thus providing about US$177.5 million of debt stock reduction. Antigua and Barbuda’s debt renegotiations continue to take place outside the framework of a Fund-supported program. The authorities are in the process of hiring debt advisors.

Belize

22. Belize announced on May 26, 2005 that it would put in place measures to attain a sustainable fiscal and external position, and, in this context, seek a restructuring of its debts. These measures would aim to: (i) maintain the exchange rate peg; (ii) achieve fiscal sustainability; and (iii) stabilize the country’s public debt. To this end, the authorities indicated their intention to undertake a debt restructuring to ease pressures on debt-service payments. In the wake of the debt-restructuring announcement, Standard & Poor’s lowered Belize’s long-term foreign currency rating from CCC to CCC-, while maintaining a negative outlook.

23. Prompted by the downgrade, Belize clarified its debt management strategy in a subsequent statement issued on June 3. The statement stressed that the debt restructuring would involve neither unilateral action, nor a request for a reduction of principal or interest. Rather, the authorities would seek an extension of commercial debt maturities. In addition, contacts with creditors would take place only after fiscal adjustment measures had been put in place. The authorities indicated their commitment to seeking a flexible debt restructuring, aimed at balancing the short- and long-term needs of the country with those of its external creditors. Finally, they noted that funds would be set aside to meet obligations falling due during the remainder of 2005. The authorities are now in the process of hiring financial advisors.

Dominica

24. In April 2004, Dominica launched its debt exchange, aimed at preemptively restructuring its sovereign debt and achieving long-term debt sustainability. As of end- May 2005, official and private creditors holding over 72 percent of debt to be restructured had participated in the restructuring. The authorities have been in contact with remaining creditors and they also are making payments in line with the terms of the restructuring into escrow accounts for these creditors.

Grenada

25. Following their announcement in December 2004 to seek a comprehensive debt restructuring, the Grenadian authorities have worked toward towards this objective in the context of a regular dialogue with their creditors. With the assistance of financial and legal advisors, the authorities have followed a market friendly process. There has been a regular dialogue with creditors, including with a creditor committee composed mainly of regional banks that hold a large proportion of the debt. Grenada has also been in contact with its official bilateral creditors. However, the process is complicated by the fact that Grenada no longer has diplomatic relations with its largest bilateral creditor, Taiwan Province of China. Moreover, some Paris Club creditors have expressed a preference for a restructuring in the context of a Fund-supported program.

26. On September 9, the Grenadian authorities launched an exchange offer to restructure the country’s commercial debt.13 Holders of eligible claims, amounting to US$275 million including past due interest, can exchange these for two new bonds, one in U.S. dollars and the other in Eastern Caribbean (E.C.) dollars, with maturities falling due during 2021–2025. The interest rate on the new bonds will be 0.85 percent for the first thee years, and will step up gradually to 8 percent after 10 years. The offer does not involve a principal reduction nor upfront cash payments. The new U.S. dollar bonds will be governed by New York law and use a trust structure, while the new E.C. dollar bonds will be governed by Grenadian law and use a fiscal agency structure. The new bonds contain collective action clauses. The closing date for creditors to accept the offer is October 7, 2005 and the authorities have set a minimum participation threshold of 85 percent for the exchange to be concluded. The Fund provided an assessment letter to accompany the offer.

27. A successful exchange offer will provide substantial cash flow relief over the coming years and reduce external vulnerability. In the event that full participation is achieved, Grenada’s commercial debt service payments would be reduced by over 90 percent over the next three years and by 80 percent over the following five years. The offer represents an NPV “haircut” of 45–50 percent for exit yields in the 9–10 percent range.

Iraq

28. Following the agreement in November 2004 with Paris Club creditors, Iraq began to take steps to settle claims with private creditors. To this end, Iraq retained legal and financial advisors for the private debt restructuring, and appointed an accounting firm to assist with the debt reconciliation process.14 The total amount of commercial claims (principal and imputed late interest) is estimated by the authorities to be around US$20 billion (out of an estimated total debt of US$125 billion).15 Iraq’s commercial debt is held by a broad range of creditors, including suppliers, trading firms, banks, and other financial institutions.

29. The Iraqi authorities invited those creditors who had submitted claims to meet with them in Dubai on May 4, 2005. In the meeting, the authorities stated their intention to base any offer to settle private creditor claims on the requirement of comparability of treatment set forth in the November 2004 agreement with the Paris Club, and the principle of equal treatment for all creditors. Following the meeting in Dubai, Iraq’s financial advisors met with various creditors to explain Iraq’s objectives in settling the claims of the private sector. A group of seven banks that claims the support of 60 financial institutions organized a London Club Coordinating Group to represent the interests of these creditors. This group has urged the authorities to negotiate a settlement with private creditors, and presented its own debt restructuring offer to the authorities in July. Other creditor groups have also been formed to represent the interests of suppliers and trading firms.

30. On July 26, 2005, Iraq announced an offer to settle private claims, and reopened the claims registration process until August 8, 2005. Negotiations did not take place with creditors prior to this announcement. The proposed offer is based on Iraq’s interpretation of the comparability of treatment clause under the Paris Club agreement, and includes options for both “large” (i.e., those with individual aggregate claims greater than US$35 million) and “small” (i.e., those with individual aggregate claims less than US$35 million) claimants. A first option for large claimants is to enter into a syndicated loan which replicates the cash flows agreed with the Paris Club, including a cancellation of 80 percent of the total claims in three installments, with the residual 20 percent to be repaid over a 23-year period with six years of principal grace at an interest rate of Libor plus 50 basis points.16 A second option is for large claimants to exchange claims for a bond with somewhat different cash flows than the loan, but identical value in net present value terms.17 On the basis of Iraq’s valuation, using a commercial discount rate of about 11.5 percent, these debt-for-debt options would confer a “haircut” of 90 percent in net present value terms. Applying a lower discount rate typical of official creditors would imply a lesser net present value “haircut”. In addition, the offer entails a cash buyback proposal which would be available only to small claimants. To maintain comparability across the different options, the creditors would receive 10.25 cents for each dollar of their claims.

31. On August 8, Iraq launched an initial tender for the cash buyback of US$750 million of eligible claims. The period for submitting tenders closed on September 9, with the exchange to be settled on September 22. Preliminary results show that holders of about 78 percent of the eligible claims accepted the offer, while holders of about 20 percent postponed a decision until all of their claims were reconciled. Holders of about 2 percent of the eligible claims rejected the offer or failed to respond. Further cash buyback tenders will occur during the course of 2005 and 2006 as claims are reconciled. The authorities announced that the debt-for-debt exchange would be launched following Fund approval of a Stand-By Arrangement.

Serbia and Montenegro

32. Following several years of negotiations, Serbia and Montenegro reached agreement in July 2004 with its London Club creditors to restructure its commercial bank debt. The terms are comparable to those provided by the Paris Club in 2001. After a write-down of about 62 percent, the remaining debt is to be converted into bonds. The debt conversion process, which began with the listing of bonds at the Luxembourg stock exchange in April 2005, has been completed for 95 percent of the debt. The process is expected to be completed by end-October 2005.

V. Progress Under the Evian Approach And Other Paris Club Issues

33. Since March 2005, no debt treatments under the Evian approach have been completed.18 In April, Paris Club creditors concluded that Gabon’s debt position was sustainable and thus did not warrant the provision of additional debt relief under the “goodwill clause” included in its 2004 Agreed Minute.

34. In June, Paris Club creditors agreed in principle to provide a comprehensive debt treatment to Nigeria. Nigeria has expressed interest in using exceptional oil revenues to finance an exit treatment from the Paris Club and in regularizing its relations with international financial institutions. Paris Club creditors expressed their willingness to provide debt reduction up to Naples terms on eligible debt, and to participate in a buyback of the remaining debt at a market-related discount. Consistent with the Evian Approach, the debt treatment would be phased and would aim at providing a definitive solution to Nigeria’s debt problems. It would be contingent on the full clearance of Nigeria’s arrears to the Paris Club, and the approval of a Policy Support Instrument by the Fund.

35. The Paris Club has made public its framework for debt buybacks, and three countries have offered to make early repayments (Box 2). Following Poland’s offer in February to buy back of all of its outstanding Paris Club debt, Russia, in May, offered to repay over a third of its Paris Club debt, and Peru, in June, offered to retire about half of its outstanding debt stock.

The Paris Club’s Framework for Early Debt Repayment

Favorable global liquidity conditions and low international interest rates are providing opportunities for debtors to refinance high, fixed-interest-rate obligations at a lower cost. Against this background, Paris Club creditors defined a common framework for early repayment operations, based on the following principles:

  • Early repayment is not a substitute for a debt treatment and should only be considered by debtors with a good payment record and a sustainable financial situation.

  • To foster inter-creditor solidarity, the principle and terms of repayment operations must be agreed by the Club as a whole and the offer presented to all creditors under similar terms. Participation remains voluntary, however.

  • Early repayment may cover all or only a portion of outstanding Paris Club claims.

  • Repayment can be either at par, or at a price reflecting the net present value of the remaining cash flows on the basis of a common market-based discount rate (e.g., spreads on sovereign bonds of similar duration). Thus, in principle, the buyback price may be lower or higher than par.

The framework was made public in a June 2005 meeting of the Paris Club with the private sector. Three early repayment operations have thus far been announced, all of which involved pre-payments at par. In only one case (Poland) did the debtor offer to repay all of its obligations to the Paris Club.

Prepayments of Paris Club Debt

(In billions of US dollars)

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VI. Assessing the Determinants And Prospects for the Pace of Market Access By Countries Emerging From Crisis19

36. In a follow-up to the Fund’s work on issues of crisis prevention and resolution, in May 2005, the Executive Board discussed the determinants and prospects for the pace of market access by countries emerging from a crisis. Directors welcomed the opportunity to revisit the issue following the return to international capital markets by some countries that had restructured their debt and the increased attention to market reaccess issues in both the public and private sectors. It was noted that the issue of market reaccess is highly relevant to the Fund—especially in the context of crisis prevention and resolution, including the exceptional access framework. Staff’s findings were considered to hold important lessons regarding the steps that countries emerging from a crisis need to take in order to reaccess international capital markets, in particular, the need to build and sustain credibility in the country’s policies.

37. The circumstances underpinning the loss of market access are a key determinant of how and when a country regains market access, including adverse developments in international capital markets and the deterioration of domestic macroeconomic conditions. Countries that lose access because of adverse market developments normally regain access quickly if there is only a minor decline in investors’ risk appetite which does not affect the assessment of the country’s creditworthiness, while significant declines in investors’ risk appetite imply countries will take considerably longer to regain market access.

38. The length of time taken to regain markets access varies when the loss of access reflects policy slippages or severe market turbulence that give rise to concerns about the country’s ability to service its debt. In these cases, no country has regained access without committing to policy adjustments. Experience has shown that when conditions in international capital markets are favorable, market reaccess takes anywhere from several months to approximately a year and a half. The timing of reaccess depends heavily on the strength of the corrective policies the country implements which should improve the country’s ability to repay its obligations and set the debt dynamics on a credible sustainable course.

39. Countries that undertook a debt restructuring regained market access only after demonstrating a commitment to strong corrective policies. The timing of the reaccess again depends on the nature of the external environment and the success of the policy efforts. In recent years, countries that have restructured their bonds have taken anywhere from 18 months to five or more years to restore external market access, or four months to four years after completion of the debt restructuring. In this respect, Fund policy advice and the Fund’s financial assistance, including precautionary arrangements to countries during the crisis period before access is regained, can play an active role in helping countries regain market access.

40. Countries seeking to reaccess capital markets should put in place a strong communication strategy to explain to investors the nature and the objective of the corrective policies, including the expected results. Data and other information need to be made available on a timely basis particularly on the early results of the adjustment effort. This would allow investors to manage better the information risk associated with a country emerging from a crisis, and to reassess the risk-return tradeoff of possibly increasing their holdings of a country’s debt. Countries would benefit from an open two-way dialogue with investors to get feedback regarding the success of the efforts to strengthen their creditworthiness.

41. Countries need to give careful attention to the characteristics of the “reaccess bond” and should evaluate the selection of the target investors, as well as size and maturity of the bond. While fixed-coupon, bullet-payment bonds are most common because they are easy to price which promotes liquidity, smaller countries which are relatively infrequent issuers could consider amortizing structures that could facilitate the management of certain risks, including rollover risk.

42. Directors supported continued work by staff to develop an analytic framework to evaluate factors affecting market reaccess. They looked forward to an analysis of the effects of Fund support and its signaling role on market reaccess and the implications for Fund work.

Table 4.

Collective Action Clauses: G-10 Recommendations and Bonds Issued under New York Law Since March 2005

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1

Communiqué of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund, Washington, 4/16/05, http://www.imf.org/external/np/cm/2005/041605.htm.

2

See Assessing the Determinants and Prospects for the Pace of Market Access by Countries Emerging from Crisis—Further Considerations, http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2005/030105a.htm.

3

See Review of G-10 Working Group on Contractual Clauses, 9/26/02, www.bis.org/publ/gten08.htm; and Collective Action Clauses—Recent Developments and Issues, 3/25/03, http://www.imf.org/external/np/psi/2003/032503.htm, and the associated Public Information Notice, http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pn/2003/pn0353.htm.

4

Fourteen countries issued bonds under New York law including CACs: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Indonesia, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The Lebanon bonds include only majority restructuring provisions. See Appendix Table 4 for a detailed description of CACs contained in New York law-governed bonds issued since March 2005, and a comparison of these provisions with the G-10 recommendations.

5

Seven countries issued bonds under English law: Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Tunisia; and three countries issued under Japanese law: Hungary, Poland, and Thailand. Hungary continued to include an engagement clause in its English law governed bonds which allows bondholders with at least 50 percent of outstanding principal to appoint “any persons as a committee to represent the interests” of bondholders in the event of a default or acceleration or following any public announcement by the issuer of a restructuring.

6

Bonds governed by German law have not included CACs. Legal questions have been raised as to whether the inclusion of CACs in international sovereign bonds governed by German law could be voided by individual bondholders based on consumer protection law. Notably, on June 28, 2005, the German Supreme Court substantially resolved this question in holding that commercial bonds are not subject to certain consumer protection provisions in the German Civil Code. Following the general elections scheduled for September 2005, legislation is expected to be adopted, which will, inter alia, codify the legality of the inclusion of CACs in bonds and set out the limitations for their application (e.g. in terms of required minimum majorities).

7

The section is based on information provided by the Institute for International Finance. The Principles can be found at http://www.iif.com/data/public/principles-final_0305.pdf.

8

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held on May 13, 2005 that the lower court “acted within its discretionary authority to vacate the remedies in order to avoid a substantial risk to the successful conclusion of the debt restructuring. That restructuring is obviously of critical importance to the economic health of a nation. We conclude that it is unnecessary to rule definitively on any of the legal issues disputed by the parties.”

9

A “when-and-if market” for the GDP-linked securities has emerged where forward trades can be made and delivered after November 29. Trading prices in this market indicate a value for the GDP-linked securities ranging from 2.5 cents to 4 cents (per dollar of nominal value).

10

The federal debt stock has declined from about 147 percent of GDP in 2002 to an estimated 84 percent of GDP in 2005 (including unrestructured debt). About 37 percent of the federal government debt stock is denominated in pesos, a sizable increase from 3 percent before the restructuring. At the same time, payment on the restructured debt for the first ten years entails about 3 percent of GDP in savings compared to before the restructuring.

11

The domestic bonds were issued at a discount so that total net financing raised amounted to US$1.5 billion, about US$283 million less than indicated by the aggregate face value of the bonds. Separately, Argentina has also directly placed some US$500 million of the Boden 2012 with the Venezuelan government.

12

The US$500 million, 9.5 percent Global bond 2006 and the US$600 million, 9.04 percent Global bond 2013 were eligible for the exchange. Two Brady Bonds (US$408 million in remaining principal) and one private placement domestic currency denominated bond (US$200 million in principal at the then current exchange rate) were excluded.

13

The exchange covers 85 percent of Grenada’s domestic and external commercial debt and about 30 percent of government-guaranteed debt—in all, 50 percent of the total stock of debt. Treasury bills will not be restructured.

14

Iraq’s Debt Reconciliation Office set up a website (http://www.eyidro.com) which provided information on the reconciliation procedure, and a vehicle for private creditors to submit their claims. The deadline for submission of commercial claims was April 15, 2005.

15

These estimated claims include both principal and imputed past due interest, calculated using a uniform interest rate. Under this methodology, past due interest represents about 54 percent of the total claims.

16

The offer indicates that (i) the loan matures in January 2028; (ii) principal amortizations on a semiannual basis begin in July 2011; (iii) interest accruing through end 2007 is capitalized, while interest accruing during 2008–10 is partially capitalized; and (iv) the loan can be denominated in dollars, yen, and euros.

17

The offer states that (i) the bond matures in 2028; (ii) principal amortizations on a semiannual basis begin in July 2020; (iii) the coupon on the bond is set at 50 basis points over LIBOR or fixed at an equivalent rate; and (iv) the bond is denominated in dollars. The bond would be privately placed.

18

Additional information on the Evian Approach and other Paris Club issues is available on the Paris Club’s website, http://www.clubdeparis.org/en/presentation/presentation.php?BATCH=B06WP14.

19

See Assessing the Determinants and Prospects for the Pace of Market Access by Countries Emerging from Crisis—Further Considerations, http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2005/030105a.htm.

Progress Report on Crisis Resolution
Author: International Monetary Fund
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