Ukraine's creditors express alarm as default threat looms
Ukraine's biggest private creditors expressed alarm on Thursday at the pace of their negotiations with cash-strapped Kiev and its escalating threat of a partial debt default.
The war-torn and economically ravaged former Soviet country is trying to reach an agreement with some of the world's biggest investors that could save it $15.3 billion (13.6 billion euros) over four years.
But a deal has proven elusive. Kiev is up against seasoned financial world heavyweights such as Franklin Templeton and other creditors who believe that Ukraine has the funds stashed away in its central bank to repay in full.
Ukraine's Finance Minister has issued at least two public warnings in the past week concerning Kiev's inability to make upcoming coupon payments due to dwindling cash reserves.
The Western-backed nation must also make a $75-million (67-million euro) interest payment to Russia on June 20. Moscow has warned that Kiev's failure to do so would prompt it to ask the International Court of Justice in The Hague to declare Ukraine in default.
But its private lenders argue that Jaresko could dip into the Ukrainian central bank reserves and avoid a debt write-down -- something the US-born finance minister has refused to do.
A committee of Kiev's four main private creditors said on Thursday that they were growingly increasingly anxious about the pace of negotiations.
"Minister Jaresko has been in possession of a detailed IMF-compliant solution from the Bond Committee for over a month," the committee said in a statement released to AFP.
"We are deeply concerned about the stance the Minister is taking, which is not in the interests of Ukraine. We are ready and willing to start talks at any time," it added.
Jaresko and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk are currently meeting with IMF officials in Washington in order to secure the release of a $1.7-billion loan payment in July.
The Fund had initially warned that Kiev's failure strike a debt restructuring deal by the time its board meets later this month may jeapordize the fate of its entire $17.5-billion Ukrainian rescue package.
But the IMF's second in command signalled on Tuesday that Kiev could still get the money without a debt deal.
"We have a policy of lending into arrears which allows us to continue lending to a member state when it has arrears with private creditors," First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton said in Washington.
© 2015 AFP