Argentina's Defaulted Sovereign Debt: Dealing with the 'Holdouts' [February 6, 2013] [open pdf - 356KB]
From the Document: "In December 2001, Argentina suffered a severe financial crisis, leading to the largest sovereign debt default in history. In 2005, after prolonged, contentious, and unsuccessful attempts to restructure the debt, Argentina abandoned the negotiation process and made a unilateral offer. The terms were highly unfavorable to creditors, but $62.3 billion of the $81.8 billion in principal owed was exchanged. A diverse group of 'holdouts' representing $18.6 billion did not tender their bonds and some have opted to litigate instead. These actions resulted in attachments orders against Argentine assets, leaving the country unable to access the international credit markets and mired in litigation. Holdout creditors also lobbied against Argentina's debt policy, which has triggered actions by the U.S. government and legislation in Congress (H.R. 1798 and S. 912 in the 112th Congress). The lingering effects of the debt default became a legacy problem for Argentina. The government decided to open another bond exchange in 2010 to deal with remaining holdouts, on slightly less favorable terms than before. Argentina reduced its outstanding defaulted debt by another $12.4 billion. […] This report reviews Argentina's financial crisis, the bond exchanges of 2005 and 2010, ongoing litigation, prospects for a final solution, related U.S. legislation, and broader policy issues. These include lessons on the effectiveness and cost of Argentina's default strategy, the ability to force sovereigns to meet debt their obligations, and options for avoiding future defaults like Argentina's."
CRS Report for Congress, R41029