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Markets braced for Argentina’s $12B+ bond sale

Argentina will head to the markets with its long-awaited multibillion-dollar bond issuance next week, according to media reports citing people familiar with the deal.

The deal is set to top $12 billion and would mark the country's re-entry to the global markets since its massive default in 2001-2002.

"I think it will appeal to a broad swathe of investors in search of yield — but a more responsible yield, as the government adopts more orthodox macroeconomic policies," Fiona Mackie, the Economist Intelligence Unit's lead analyst on Argentina, told CNBC on Friday.

"It is becoming very difficult in Latin America to find a credit that is not going through economic difficulties that have been brought on through economic mismanagement," she added.

The funds raised would be used to repay so-called holdout creditors who have sued the country for repayment. These include U.S. billionaire Paul Singer's Elliott Management.

Paul Singer
Photo: World Economic Forum | Wikipedia
Paul Singer

Marketing of the deal will kick off in New York and London on Monday, before Argentinian policymakers travel to Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, two sources told the Financial Times newspaper.

It will be among the biggest seen from an emerging market borrower, comparable to Mexico's flagship $16 billion issue in 1996.

The government hoped to sell the bond with a yield of 7.5 percent, said Mackie, who felt this was too low given the scale of the issuance and the length of time since Argentina last tapped the market. A yield of over 8 percent was more likely, according to Mackie.

Robin Bew, managing director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, said his organization rated Argentina's upcoming deal at "CC," in a Tweet on Friday. That would suggest the debt was extremely speculative, with default imminent and little prospect for recovery.

In March, Argentinian senators agreed to the bond issue and the use of part of the funds generated to pay holdout creditors.

On Wednesday next week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is expected to agree to lift an injunction that prevents Argentina from issuing new bonds or servicing its restructured debt without paying holdout creditors in full. This injunction is viewed as the final barrier to a new bond launch.

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