Argentina heads to default as talks end without agreement
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Argentina heads to default as talks end without agreement

Talks between Argentina and U.S.-based creditors have ended without a settlement that would avoid the country’s second default in 13 years.

Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof says his country is unable to accept demands of investors led by U.S. hedge funds his government has deemed “vultures.”

A defiant Kicillof said Wednesday that the investors refused to a stay of a judge’s order that would have allowed the country to pay other creditors while continuing negotiations.

He also said the creditors would not accept a generous compromise offered by the South American country.

Kicillof dismissed a decision by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade Argentina’s foreign currency credit rating to “selective default” because of the missed interest payments.

“Who believes in the ratings agencies? Who thinks they are impartial referees of the financial system?” he said.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez long had refused to negotiate with the hedge fund creditors, often calling them “vultures” for picking on the carcass of the country’s record $100 billion default in 2001.

A court-appointed mediator said Argentina would immediately go into default.