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Finance Minister – Zambia doing everything possible to avoid default

Zambia is doing everything possible to avoid a sovereign debt default later this week, including sharing information on its Chinese debt with creditors, its Finance Minister told Reuters on Monday.

Zambia, which missed payment of a $42.5 million coupon on one of its Eurobonds last month, has asked creditors to delay interest payments until April, a request that has so far failed to receive support from bondholders.

A 30-day “grace period” on the coupon payment expires on Friday.

“We’ll wait and see. We’re doing everything possible,” Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu told Reuters by phone.

“The discussions (with bondholders) are on a continuous basis.”

When asked whether Zambia had the resources to pay the coupon within the grace period, he said the southern African copper producer had committed to treating all its creditors the same.

Eurobond holders have cited Zambia’s lack of progress in talks with the International Monetary Fund and poor transparency regarding its borrowing from China as obstacles to them agreeing to its request to suspend debt payments.

Dr Ng’andu, however, said his government had shared requested information with creditors.

“We’ve given all the information that needs to be given concerning the Chinese debt,” he said

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