Amadeusz Juskowiak

Philippines heads confidently into debt talks

Philippine Finance Secretary Jaime Ongpin starts negotiations with the countrys 12bank advisory committee in New York tomorrow buoyed by an economy on the mend and political stability one year after President Corazon Aquino took power central bank officials said

The country now has foreign debt totalling 278 billion dlrs and faces debt repayments of 36 billion dlrs due between January 1987 and December 1992 Manila also hopes to tack on another 58 billion dlrs rescheduled in a 1985 accord to any new agreement the officials said

Chiles 1512 year rescheduling accord at one percentage point over London Interbank Offered Rates LIBOR and Venezualas 21 billion dlr package at 78 point over LIBOR portend well for the Philippines despite Brazils repayment suspension last week the officials said

Manila which has not made any principal repayments since 1983 wants terms better than the 20year repayments at 1316 percentage point over LIBOR offered in October to Mexico in a 77 billion dlr rescue

Ongpin wants 58 point over the benchmark rate which is currently hovering around 612 pct

The banks are said to be firm on the 118 points offered when the last round of negotiations collapsed on November 7

Ongpin said every 116 point over LIBOR meant an additional 51 mln dlrs in annual interest payments

One banker said banks were wary of repeating a Mexicotype accord which some 70 small creditor banks are still refusing to endorse five months after it was signed

In Manilas case about 40 pct of the 15 billion dlrs outstanding to commercial banks is owed to the 12 large banks on the advisory committee while about 180 smaller banks have average exposures of 20 mln dlrs each

REUTER