Moldova raises doubts over foreign debt payments
CHISINAU, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Moldova's finance ministry said on Thursday it
will not be able to meet in full its foreign debt obligations due in December
because it had not received funds from foreign creditors.
"Taking into consideration the fact that, until now Moldova did not receive
from external creditors in the amount of $36.3 million...the government of
Moldova will have some difficulties meeting its obligations in December," the
ministry said in a statement.
It said it was unable to meet in full interest payments due on December 7 on a
loan from the
At the end of the second quarter, the government's total debt to the European
Union stood at
$46.6 million. It was not immediately clear how much Moldova was due to pay on
December 7. On Thursday the government was also due to meet a $3.7 million
semi-annual interest payment on a 2002 Eurobond. The finance ministry declined
to comment on whether it also faced problems with that payment. It has a 21-day
In July Moldova narrowly escaped defaulting on a $3.7 million interest
payment on its Eurobonds. The government then made the payment on the last day
of the grace period, borrowing the cash from the central bank.
International rating agencies have downgraded Moldova's rating, saying they
have doubts over the country's ability to service its foreign debt payments in
Moldova, a country of 4.3 million people wedged between Romania and Ukraine,
is struggling under a heavy debt burden. More than a third of its projected
budget spending for this year is earmarked for paying off debts.
Official figures showed Moldova's foreign debt totalled $1.539 billion at the
end of March. It
comprises $1.015 billion in state foreign debt and $523.5 million in commercial
The government had hoped to receive by the end of the year a $12 million
tranche from the
International Monetary Fund under its $142 million loan programme.
But Moldovan officials said on Wednesday the IMF might delay until January a
decision on whether to resume lending.
The IMF froze its three-year lending programme to the tiny agricultural
country earlier this year
after some deputies in the newly elected Communist parliament proposed scrapping
privatisation plans and introducing protectionist trade tariffs.
The finance ministry said an IMF mission was due in the Moldovan capital of
Chisinau next week.
By Dmitry Chubashenko
Thursday, 13 December 2001 14:05:16