If one thing is clear after the debt deal sealed between Argentina and its main foreign bondholders is that it frees up the country’s re-payment schedule in the near term, as President Alberto Fernández made sure to point out in interviews throughout the week.
Speaking on the day that the deal was announced, and in a clip that was republished in multiple government social media accounts, Fernández was eager to show a piece of paper with a graph produced by his Economy Ministry, which highlighted the difference in upcoming payments before and after the agreement.
“I want people to look at this. All this money we will not be paying is money that can go towards investment and development. Instead of interest payments we will have money for production, for job creation, for infrastructure,” Fernández told C5N while showing the paper to the cameras. A translated version of that same graph can be seen below.
The gains on the first few years of the deal are very noticeable for Argentina, from roughly 10 billion USD paid per year to foreign-law bondholders between 2020 and 2023 to 0 in 2020, 0.1 in 2021, 1 in 2022 and 1.4 billion in 2023.
But Fernández drew some criticism for the way in which he presented the graph, by folding the piece of paper right between 2024 and 2025, the first year in which post-agreement maturities start to exceed those present before the deal, a part of the graph which was not shown to the cameras.
Indeed, the payment schedule becomes tougher from that point onward, with 7 to 10 billion in maturities per year until 2035, and Argentina will need to find a way to re-finance those debts at cheap rates that it has been unable to obtain lately, pay with cash, or fall into debt trouble again. For a country that has not shown any economic growth for the last decade, that will not be the easiest of asks.