Bar any last minute heroics from a delegation meeting with negotiators in New York City, Argentina is set to default tomorrow. Ironically, it will default on debt dating back to its last default in 2001.
As this happens, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Economy Minister Axel Kicillof are in Caracas, Venezuela, attending a meeting of MercoSur — a body of South American countries including Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela (naturally).
Unfortunately — because they had to deal with Argentina nearing its July 30th payment deadline — Kiciloff and Fernandez missed last night’s big party. It was late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s 60th birthday. They did however, arrive in time for a bash thrown by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.
For years the country has been battling with a group of hedge funds led by Elliott Management’s Paul Singer, and known as NML Capital. NML refused to take haircut on bonds it purchased after Argentina’s last collapse unlike over 90% of bondholders.
Since then, Argentina has said that it will not pay these holdouts (commonly called “vultures” in the country), but earlier this summer The Supreme Court effectively struck down that argument.
Now Argentina has until Wednesday to pay up, according to a New York Judge. A delegation has been sent from the country to try to convince the Court to instate a stay on all payment to bondholders — Argentina’s condition for negotiating — but so far it’s been unsuccessful.
We can only imagine the President is very, very stressed out in Venezuela.