Standards and Poor Global Ratings has lowered its long-term foreign currency rating on Belize to selective
default ('SD') from 'CC'. At the same time, the organization removed the rating from CreditWatch with negative
implications, from where Belize was placed on Feb 21st, 2017. In addition, S and P lowered the short-term
foreign currency rating to 'D' from 'C'. S and P also affirmed Belize’s 'CC' long-term local currency rating and
the 'C' short-term local currency rating and revised the outlook on the long-term local currency rating to stable
from negative. These rating actions follow Belize's announcement on March 15, 2017, that holders of more than 87% of the U.S. dollar bonds due in 2038 have consented to amendments to the terms of the bonds, which will
alter the interest rate and amortization schedule.
According to S and P they characterize this exchange offer as distressed as it is their view that holders of the U.S dollar bonds have accepted less than the originally promised payments because of the risk that the issuer won't
fulfill its original obligations with respect to such bonds. Also, according to S and P’s criteria, once a distressed
exchange offer has been confirmed (albeit with a future effective date), they will lower the issuer rating to 'SD'
and the affected issue rating to 'D'.
The government of Belize expects that the restructuring will become effective by March 21st, 2017. According to S and P upon completion of the restructuring, the organization will reassess the sovereign's general credit
standing, most likely raising the foreign currency long term rating to the 'CCC' or low 'B' categories.
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