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BREAKING: Belize needs Superbond “haircut”, says Briceño

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Posted: Friday, January 8, 2021. 6:16 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister and Minister of Finance John Briceño has begun to contemplate further negotiations over the “Superbond”, the massive billion-dollar commercially obtained loan debt first bundled under the Said Musa administration 13 years ago.

A debt recovery team is being assembled to address this issue, but Briceno expects and insists that Belize must fight for a “hair cut” – financial speak for a reduction of the principal debt.

Bondholders had explicitly rejected this at the time of the third Superbond renegotiation in 2017, especially because of the timing by the Barrow administration.

Belize accepted instead a reduction in interest rates and a more spread out time for repayment. Belize would pay interest twice per year up to 2029, when five “soft bullet” principal repayments would kick in.

Belize last year agreed with bondholders to defer three interest payments due through 2022.

Moody’s credit rating agency previously warned of just such an occurrence when in December it downgraded Belize’s credit rating to a step above default.

Briceño also noted that Belize has added a billion dollars in debt in the last year alone as a result of taking on infrastructure projects and spending for COVID-19 related relief and response.

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